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Hill gets nod at QB for season opener

SAN FRANCISCO — Shaun Hill has gone from undrafted rookie free agent to starting quarterback in his eight-year NFL journey.

Hill's late-season success last year for the San Francisco 49ers told coach Mike Singletary plenty about his potential to start in this league, and Singletary on Monday gave Hill the nod as the Niners starting quarterback over Alex Smith.

"I like the consistency," Singletary said of Hill. "I think he has a commanding presence about him when he gets in the huddle. I think the guys have learned to rally around him and his leadership."

Singletary made the public announcement before Monday afternoon's practice at the team's Santa Clara headquarters after talking to both QBs separately on Sunday and again together Monday morning.

Hill had no idea when he and Smith would find out — and insisted he had to keep that far from his mind and focus on the task at hand.

"This was obviously the goal of mine coming into the offseason. That part was exciting," Hill said. "I know there is a lot of work yet to be done. I need to get better and this offense needs to get better. I definitely can't stop and smell the roses."

Singletary had been hesitant to say who was leading the competition and each QB earned one exhibition start. Neither did much to distinguish himself in those outings according to Singletary, who hadn't planned to name his starter until after Saturday's preseason game at Dallas.

But he decided it was better for everybody — Hill and Smith themselves — to move ahead with one starter in preparation for the regular season.

Singletary reiterated Monday "there was never a huge gap at any particular time," between the two.

Shaun Hill throws a pass in Saturday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. He was named the 49ers' starting QB on Monday. - ASSOCIATED PRESS