The San Francisco 49ers haven't given up on the possibility of Pro Bowl outside linebacker Aldon Smith potentially returning later this season.
Smith entered a substance-abuse rehabilitation center in September.
“We hope to meet with him in the near future and go from there,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said, per the San Francisco Chronicle.
Baalke added that "progress" must be identified and a "trust factor" built before Smith can play again. He's been arrested for driving under the influence twice and is facing three felony counts of possessiojn of an assault weapon.
“Obviously we’re hopeful,” Baalke said. “But at the same time we’re prepared for either outcome.”
Why did the 49ers let Smith play days after his DUI arrest?
“Ultimately, the decision we made was the decision we felt was in the best interest of the young man,” Baalke said. “Those can be, and those have been, questioned by many.”
What about signing him to a long-term deal? Can the 49ers trust Smith
“We’ll continue to monitor his situation and ultimately do what we think is best for the organization when it comes to working out (a long-term deal),” Baalke said.
The 49ers will need to be careful about paying Smith big money given how little maturity he's displayed so far.
He's obviously a troubled young man who needs to get his life in order before worrying about football. His life should be the first priority, not football.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.