We can’t believe it’s come to this. After everything we’ve been through together, to see you shipped off to the Siberia of the NFL makes our hearts hurt. Sure, we may have booed you off the field from time to time, and chanted the name of every conceivable backup on the roster, and ripped you in the media from day one. But what we, the members of Niner Nation, are not afraid to admit right now is that we love you.
Sure, your stats weren’t fantastic, your overall eight-year record was mediocre, and in general you are a pretty darn boring guy to root for. But damn it, Alex, you were professional! And patient. And you have nice cheekbones. It is for these qualities that we will proudly hang our number 11 jerseys in frames on our walls, and tell our grandkids tales of the greatest Niner quarterback to ever get permanently benched then traded to the crappiest team in the league.
But, my, what an example you’ve given us. From taking a pay cut after a few failed seasons, to sticking with the 49ers when you had chances to leave for greener (and friendlier) pastures because you felt you “owed it to us,” to graciously accepting a bad-break demotion in the midst of your finest season yet, you are a model of sportsmanship. We will never forget the endless sacks you suffered behind a Swiss-cheese line, or the absurd coaching changes you endured every year, or the general mediocrity of your supporting casts.
Sure, we could have had Aaron Rodgers in that fateful 2005 draft. But even he couldn’t have weathered the hellfire of Mike Singletary, or the dithering of Mike Nolan, or the whatever it was Jim Tomsula did for two games in 2010. We applaud you for your sacrifices and love you for fighting all those battles with a smile on your face, a Lombardi Trophy in your mind's eye, and a limp press-conference mike in your hand.
Kansas City is our new second-favorite team because of you, Alex. If the 49ers don’t win the Super Bowl in 2014, we hope it’s because you led the Chiefs to glory. You deserve nothing less, Number 11. Thank you for the years of service—now go make Jim Harbaugh look stupid.