San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith fielded some questions from the media on Friday. Smith had a troubled offseason, with a DUI arrest and an unfortunate stabbing incident, where he sustained minor injuries. Smith entered the league as one of the younger players as an underclassman from Missouri.
While there is no need to make excuses for his actions, plenty of fully-functioning members of society get caught up in bad situations. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh himself had a DUI; it didn't damage anyone's perspective of him -- more people know him as the 2011 NFL Coach of the Year. And people will remember Aldon Smith for his sacks when it's all said and done.
It helps that Jim Harbaugh is an understanding person with an open-door policy, and could relate to at least one of Smith's incidents. Aldon Smith said the 49ers have been "fully supportive; they've had my back the whole way."
Smith felt genuine regret for his decisions:
Letting everybody down was probably the saddest part. But I'm back to 100 percent and ready to go...I just felt like after the incidents that happened and the expectations that were set for me, I felt like I let the fans and everybody that kind of looked to me like that down...It helped my focus out. I'm really focused more than ever. Not to say that I wasn't in the beginning, but I'm just focused more than ever and I'm ready to go.
When asked if he was angry at anybody, Smith said, "If anyone, probably myself. I've got to make better decisions. And you live and you learn."
For the full transcript, visit Eric Branch's blog at the San Francisco Chronicle.