By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Head Coach Jim Harbaugh announced on Wednesday that local product Colin Kaepernick will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback. Alex Smith is benched, even though he’s fully recovered from his concussion.

It was a concussion that knocked Smith out of the game. Now it’s knocked him out of his job.

“Obviously I want to play. I want to start. I think I should, but it’s not my decision,” Smith said in an interview Monday.

Turlock native Kaepernick played so well with Smith sidelined that he now is the new No. 1, even with Smith recovered and cleared to play.

“This is a sticky situation,” said Dan Bunz.

Former 49er Bunz says the NFL should encourage teams to give players such as Smith their starting jobs back after concussions.

“It’s a major problem. I don’t know what the answer is, but the NFL should address it,” he said. “Hey, let the guy get back in. He stepped down, did the test like we asked, and he’s fine now. Give him a shot.”

Bunz is best known for this goal-line-stand tackle in the 49ers’ first Super Bowl win, a game in which he believes he suffered a concussion and kept playing.

“I think I knew we were in the Super Bowl, but I just didn’t know what stadium or what town, or where we were at,” said Bunz.

Thousands of former NFL players have filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging the NFL concealed research about the long-term impacts of head injuries.

Now this scrutiny – Smith is recovered from a head injury, but his career may be hurt for good.

“Because I did what was right and safe for my body, I’m done,” said Bunz of Smith’s situation.


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