49ers Going Back to Alex Smith One More Time

With all the Jon Gruden rumors and Jim Harbaugh speculation and Bill Parcells gossip flying around the San Francisco 49ers organization these days, it's easy to forget that the team actually has another game to play this Sunday at Candlestick.

But they do have another game to play this Sunday at Candlestick, a season-ending contest with the rival Arizona Cardinals. NBC Sports reports that 49ers interim coach Jim Tomsula has decreed that Alex Smith will start the game for the 49ers.

When the 2010 season started, this Week 17 49ers-Cardinals match-up looked like it would determine first place in the NFC West. As it turns out, this Week 17 match-up between the 5-10 49ers and the 5-10 Cardinals will determine last place in the NFC West.

Alex Smith's 49ers contract expires at the end of this game. Troy Smith's 49ers contract also expires at the end of this game. Third-stringer David Carr still has one more year on his contract, if that does anything for you.

Sunday's game against the Cardinals will also mark the first time that 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis will miss a game with injury. NBC Sports reports that Willis will sit out Sunday with a broken hand.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is at least pleased to see that the 49ers could end up drafting No. 2 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.

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