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Alex Smith The NFL's Comeback Player Of The Year? It Could Happen

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the best stories of the 2011 season. A big reason for their success: Alex Smith. While the former first round pick does not have the eye-popping stats of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, he has done an incredible job managing the offense and stepping up when the game was on the line.

With the 49ers well on their way to a playoff birth, it's only natural to start thinking about players winning individual awards. While everyone would rather have a championship trophy, Smith may be 2011's Comeback Player of the Year. Matt Maiocco sure thinks so.

Alex Smith is a strong candidate for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. His passer rating last season was 82.1. Mark Sanchez's was 75.3.

It's tough to imagine any other player winning the award. Smith has all the credentials; a player on a winning team, a player who did not live up to expectations right out of college, and a player that has received a lot of exposure throughout the season.

With coach Harbaugh the likely favorite for Coach of the Year, the 49ers could take home so hardware at the end of the year.