The quarterback lost his place in the starting lineup for the 49ers midway through the season, after Colin Kaepernick impressed while Smith recovered from a concussion.
The 28-year-old told Bay Area News: "I would be lying if I said it wasn't a little bittersweet. Yeah, I want to be out there. It's what you work for coming into the season. That was the mind-set. That was the goal for me.
"It's the nature of sports. He got an opportunity, stepped up and made the most of it. That's the deal.
"That's how I got my start in college. It was no different. The guy in front of me got hurt. That's how I got my first start. It's just the nature of team sports."
Smith is expected to leave San Francisco during the off-season in search of a starting place at another team.
The 49ers will face the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on February 3.