San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke met with the media today, and one comment in particular jumped out at me. Baalke talked about LaMichael James and the running backs, he talked about Tank Carradine and NaVorro Bowman's injury recoveries, and he talked about how the 49ers prepare for the draft. But what caught my ear was his discussion of Aldon Smith.
One reporter (I think it was Matt Maiocco) asked Baalke how much the team stays in contact with Aldon, and what kind of support system the 49ers had in place. Baalke responded as follows:
Funny, I just talked to Aldon, yesterday as a matter of fact. He's in Vail, he's having a good time, away. And we keep in contact regularly. And we've got a great support system. Aldon's done a great job of utilizing that support system. And will continue to.
I don't expect the team to go into details about how exactly they work with Aldon, but it's interesting to hear some of the details about how they work with Aldon. Although he completed his rehab during the season, his sobriety will be a life-long struggle. Considering he is in the public spotlight as a professional football player, it further complicates the situation. The 49ers were initially criticized by some for the way they handled his situation following his arrest. A few months later, it feels like Aldon and the team have figured out a plan and are executing it accordingly.
Aldon faces a court hearing next month, when he likely will submit his plea. I remain convinced he will work out a plea bargain with the DA's office, but for now we have to wait and see how this plays out. It's a tricky situation because unfortunately politics can play into this. The District Attorney may decide he needs to gain some political points by making an example of a defendant. The gun side of this case does not strike me as the easiest for the DA to prove, however. Back in October, socalisteph discussed the charges and how they likely serve for the purpose of leverage.