Alex Smith is without podium, but not without company. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Alex Smith has to be the most uncomfortable, unhappy man in the city of New Orleans.

He’s a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, but he isn’t the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. That’s Colin Kaepernick.

Smith, benched midseason after suffering a concussion, was classy and honest as he dealt with the media today. Unlike Kaepernick and the other starters, he didn’t have a podium. He was left to roam the Superdome field, something he is unlikely to do Sunday.

The former No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft admitted it was difficult and looked a little like one of those people in a Southwest Airlines commercial.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’m not going to lie about it.”

Smith took the opportunity on media day to deny a report that he’d asked to be released by the 49ers after the Super Bowl. He wants to play and running back Frank Gore spoked openly about how badly he wants to see his quarterback get a starting job. As tough at this week is, though, Smith is working with Kaepernick, Coach Jim Harbaugh said.

“[Smith is] another person really to credit in Colin’s success because Alex has really helped coach Colin. He’s been right there at his side, sitting in meetings every single day, and he coaches Colin now more than I do,” Harbaugh said. “And that speaks volumes for the kind of person and teammate that Alex Smith is.”