NEW ORLEANS Alex Smith did the right thing in self-reporting concussion symptoms earlier this season, Roger Goodell said Friday, and the NFL commissioner said he hopes other players would do the same in a similar situation.
"I understand somewhat the dilemma, but the highest priority is for players to raise their hand when they're injured so they can get the proper treatment," Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl news conference.
The dilemma, of course, is that Smith set in motion a series of events that ultimately cost him his starting quarterback job in San Francisco.
Colin Kaepernick started the next game for the 49ers against Chicago and played so well that coach Jim Harbaugh started Kaepernick over a healthy Alex Smith for the rest of the season.
Goodell noted that once Smith's concussion symptoms went away, it became a football decision and not a medical issue.
"The coaches made a decision to go in another direction," he said. "And that's something the coaches have to do."
Smith has said he has no regrets about telling team doctors about his concussion symptoms. They had gone away two days after the Nov. 11 hit against the St. Louis Rams that caused the initial concussion but reappeared one day before the Bears game on Nov. 19.
Here comes the son Jim vs. John isn't the only Harbaugh family dynamic in the Super Bowl. There's also Jim vs. Jay as in the 49ers' head coach and his oldest son.
After serving as an undergraduate assistant football coach at Oregon State, Jay Harbaugh is a coaching intern for John's Baltimore Ravens.
To this point, the Harbaughs have kept this part of the family narrative fairly quiet.
At their joint news conference Friday, Jim said he's "thankful and proud that Jay is doing what he loves to do" with the Ravens, and he hears Jay is doing "a phenomenal job."
With the teams preparing to play each other for the Lombardi Trophy, though, it has made for limited communication between father and son the past week.
"This week has been tough. I haven't been talking to him or calling him or anything," Jim said. "Sending him a few texts just letting him know how I feel about it. I don't want to get him where people are thinking I'm talking to him. But I've heard he's done a great job, and that means the world."
John Harbaugh said Jay has been a valuable addition to the Ravens.
"Maybe that'll tip the scale," John quipped. "Maybe that'll be our edge, will be Jay. He is really good. He's a hard-working guy."
Et cetera Both 49ers starting outside linebackers, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, are listed as probable on the team's injury report with shoulder injuries. They are the only players from either team to have been limited in practice this week.
The 49ers practiced indoors again Friday despite sunny skies. Harbaugh wanted to mimic as closely as possible Sunday's conditions inside the Superdome, and all three phases of the team offense, defense and special teams practiced amid speakers pumping out crowd noise.
Harbaugh reported that David Akers, who missed more field-goal attempts than any other kicker in the league this season, has been perfect during practice this week.