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Joe Staley feels bad for Alex Smith, but says locker room not divided

Despite close personal ties with demoted quarterback Smith, the veteran Staley stands behind Colin Kaepernick.

Joe Robbins

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley feels bad for benched quarterback Alex Smith, but insists that the team's quarterback controversy has not divided the locker room, according to Matt Maiocco of

Staley, a six-year pro, has been very close friends with Smith since breaking into the NFL. He was so moved by head coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to bench Smith that he pulled the coach aside in practice and shared his feelings on the move.

"I was down for Alex," Staley said. "But it was never to the point where I was acting out. We just had a conversation. It was during a practice. We've had a lot of conversations. I've always had the relationship with Harbaugh that I can come to him with anything, regardless."

Staley added that he felt like any friend might when a co-worker has something negative happen to them in the workplace.

Despite Staley's close personal ties with Smith, the veteran tackle stands behind the team's new starter, second-year pro Colin Kaepernick, saying he backs him "100 percent".

The 49ers play host to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on CBS.