San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke spoke with the media for the annual pre-draft session on Friday morning. The general manager said he isn't happy with what Aldon Smith has done off the field, but hopes to keep on the team in the long run.
"We're gonna continue to find ways to support [him], not defend," Baalke said to the media. "As long as he's a 49er we're gonna do just that."
Yesterday, Smith was referred to the LA City Attorney for misdemeanor consideration after his incident at LAX where he made a false bomb threat.
Smith has had several previous incidents with the law since being in the NFL. He will be in court on April 29 as he faces charges of possessing illegal assault weapons from a house party incident in 2012, as well as driving under the influence. During the 2013 season, he was arrested for a DUI right before playing the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3 which he played in that week.
The 49ers linebacker would serve an indefinite suspension for five consecutive weeks as he spent them in rehab. He joined the team after the bye week and resume play in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. While Smith was suspended, the 49ers won five consecutive games without him in the lineup.
Baalke viewed Smith's problems off the field as disappointing, but hopes the outside linebacker can rebound from it. While it has been discussed numerous times, he couldn't comment until all information has come.
"The one word I can use to describe the situation is ‘disappointing'," Baalke said. "The important thing is it’s equally disappointing to Aldon. Like all of us, you have the keys to your own car. You make decisions, and you live with the consequences of those decisions. Life is a growing process. It’s a growing process for all of us. He knows what needs to be done. We’re all accountable. Each and every one of us in this organization is accountable for everything that takes place. It’s still a process and we’re working on it.”
The 49ers have until May 3 to pick up his fifth-year option which would cost $9.75 million for the 2015 season. Baalke would not commit if the team will pick it up or not as it's "still being discussed."
Smith set a franchise single season record with 19.5 sacks in the 2012 season, passing Fred Dean's previous record. He also set a record for the most sacks in the first two NFL seasons with 33.5 in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Baalke supports the 49ers first round draft pick, but appears to be waiting for the legal process to play out. He said it is something to worry about with the trouble he has experienced off the field.
"Aldon has made very good strides in a lot of ways," Baalke said. "Sometimes you hit a speed bump. When it becomes repetitive, it becomes a concern."
-Trent Baalke said he had no intention of trading RB LaMichael James. When questioned if the disgruntled running back has been asking for a trade, the general manager said no, outside of his Twitter activity.