The standout linebacker, who was arrested earlier this month in Los Angeles, will be in the news even more after receiving strong support from general manager Trent Baalke on Friday.
In speaking with the Bay Area media for his annual pre-NFL Draft press conference, Baalke consistently reiterated that the 49ers were “disappointed” in Smith’s off-the-field incident.
The GM also said the team is still discussing whether or not to pick up the fifth-year option on Smith’s rookie contract signed in 2011.
But when asked if Smith was wanted around in San Francisco in 2014 and 2015, Baalke cut a reporter off and said, “And ‘16 and ‘17 and ’18.”
Baalke took a firm stance on the recent off-the-field headlines involving members of his team. He said “one incident” is far too many, but he also supported his locker room by praising the leadership on the 49ers and the players active roles in community service.
“This is a good group of men,” Baalke said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard. The community deserves that.”
Regarding Smith, Baalke said the 49ers are treating the star pass-rusher like anybody would treat a family member.
“We’re a family,” said Baalke, who drafted Smith seventh overall four seasons ago. “You don’t just open the door and toss people out of it. You continue to work until they leave you no choice.”
Baalke said the 49ers would support the NFL’s handling of the arrest and let the process play out before making any decisions on Smith’s playing future for the upcoming season.
Asked if Smith would miss the 2014 season, Baalke said, “That remains to be seen. You prepare for the worse and hope for the best.
“There are still a lot of thing that are going to factor into that decision at the league level and the club level. We’re working very diligently in the background to make sure the right decisions are made long term, not only for Aldon, but for the club.”
At the end of his hour-long press briefing, Baalke made sure to point out that the team doesn’t take this offseason’s news clippings lightly.
“We’re all accountable in this organization for everything that takes place,” he said.