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Alex Smith: Not sliding at all safer for QBs than sliding late

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Alex Smith believes sliding late is far more dangerous for quarterbacks than not sliding at all, a lesson he learned after two scary incidents when his helmet hit the turf hard during the Kansas City Chiefs’ game against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago.

Smith, who claims he didn’t suffer a concussion on either play, nevertheless was left visibly woozy. He returned to the game after the first one, but was smartly pulled after the second.

Smith sat out last Sunday’s game, allowing the veteran signal-caller some time to reflect on what he needs to do better to better protect himself when he’s running.

“Looking back, the late slide is not what you want to do,” Smith said, via ESPN. “I just think it puts you in such a vulnerable position. I think you’d be better to maintain being a football player and playing. No protection there. You’re kind of going down and have your legs underneath you. It’s not a good position to be in. That’s what I want to avoid for sure.

“The slide is a tool to help protect yourself. I do look back and certainly think the first slide was late. Those are tough. I think those are bang-bang plays and I do think if anything it’s the one I’m kicking myself over. To put myself in that situation where you’re vulnerable, you’re not protected because I did slide late. I did feel like on the second one, and this is my opinion [because] these are fast plays and refs have a hard time, I felt like I did get down early enough to protect myself, to afford myself that protection.”

Smith did note that he feels the NFL properly protects quarterbacks in the pocket. But once outside of it, things are different.

“[But] when you’re out running with the ball you’re a football player,” he said.

And Smith believes knowing the right way to slide — or better put, the right time — can make all the difference for quarterbacks.

Smith will be back under center Sunday when the Chiefs face the Carolina Panthers.