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Losing his job is nothing new for Smith in what has been a roller coaster eight-year NFL career filled with promotions and demotions. Even after his last full game was an impressive win on Monday Night Football at Arizona on Oct. 29 that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. In a near-perfect night, Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He had a 157.1 passer rating and connected with nine different receivers.

Smith bounced from starter to the bench throughout 2010 after coming into the year entrenched as the starter _ and that’s been his story each year except for during last year’s turnaround season. He is 19-5-1 in two years playing for former NFL quarterback Harbaugh.

Smith was expected to speak with reporters Thursday, the team said.

In the locker room, players have said all the right things: supporting both quarterbacks, while reiterating it is Harbaugh’s call to make.

“It’s getting very old. It’s kind of taking away from what the Niners are doing, all this fuss about our quarterback situation,” Walker said. “(Alex) definitely didn’t lose his job. Kap is just playing well, so that’s what I think you’re seeing right now. A lot of guys on offense are feeding off it. So we’re just going to go with Kap until Jim Harbaugh decides otherwise.”

Walker knows it’s probably not over yet, though, as Smith very well could get another shot sometime over the final five games.

Also Wednesday, Harbaugh said kicker David Akers is nursing an undisclosed injury, and that’s why the 49ers worked out kickers Tuesday. Akers was later listed limited in practice because of a pelvis injury. He looked strong at the start of practice, kicking field goals from 50 yards and demonstrating ample leg strength and accuracy. He missed what would have been the game-winning field goal in overtime last time against the Rams, then missed one from 50 yards in the fourth quarter and had another blocked from 33 yards out Sunday at New Orleans. Akers was clipped by a Saints player after his fourth extra-point attempt in the third quarter but showed no visible signs of injury.

He has missed four of his last seven tries from 40 to 49 yards and eight of his last 21 overall. He ranks 29th in field-goal percentage at 70.4 after setting a single-season NFL record last season with 44 made field goals.

“David Akers is working through something and we want to make sure we have a Plan B,” Harbaugh said.

NOTES: Walker didn’t practice but said he expects to play against the Rams after bruising a hip and his ribs Sunday in the Superdome. … In addressing the season-ending injuries of WR and return man Kyle Williams (knee) and RB Kendall Hunter (ankle), Harbaugh said, “The sad thing for all of us is two known friends and trusted agents, Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter, are going to be out for the season.” … Also on Wednesday’s practice report: LB Aldon Smith (shoulder) and S Darcel McBath (concussion).


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