49ers

Chris Long thinks 49ers are only team Tom Brady would leave Patriots for

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USATSI

Chris Long thinks 49ers are only team Tom Brady would leave Patriots for

Tom Brady is preparing to enter his age 42 season with the New England Patriots, having just signed a two-year, $41 million contract extension.

Brady, however, also put his Brookline, Mass., home on the market, leading many to wonder if this is indeed TB12's last year at Patriot Place. While Brady's contract extension takes him through the 2021 season, the new deal also has a stipulation that the final two years will be voided if not renegotiated by the end of the 2019 league year. That would make Brady a free agent at the end of this season and has those humble Patriots fans worried the six-time Super Bowl champion could bolt town for another team. 

Would Brady really finish his career with a different franchise?

Chris Long, who played with Brady, only can see the legendary quarterback playing for one other team -- the 49ers.

Long is playing guest columnist at Sports Illustrated, and he laid out a wild scenario in which Brady ends up back in the Bay and current 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo returns to 1 Patriot Place. 

"Let’s get even crazier and hypothesize that Tom would like to wear a new uniform at 43 years old," Long writes. "There’s only one place I could see him going -- back to the Bay. And here’s how it happens.

"Let’s say Jimmy G has a modest year (I don’t think he does) and looks like Tannehill 2.0. Next offseason, Brady hits the market and expresses interest in returning home to suit up for the team he adored as a teenager (in 1990). San Francisco releases Garoppolo and he ends up back in New England, where (Belichick) beautifully repurposes what’s perceived as damaged goods."

In Long's scenario, Jimmy G and TB12 finally have the long-awaited master vs. apprentice duel in the Super Bowl, which would be quite the storyline.

[RELATED: Shanahan not blown away by rookie receiver's debuts]

Of course, thinking Brady leaves the Patriots to play for another team feels like a fairy tale. Perhaps he's tired of playing for Bill Belichick, and perhaps he'd rather live in the Bay Area rather than frigid Boston, so he packs his bags for his home area.

Then again, as Patriots fans are quick to remind everyone, why would Tommy leave the greatest sports town and all that winning?

Brady's future once again will be one of the prevailing topics of the NFL season, but it's unlikely the 49ers will play a role.

Why Aldon Smith not labeling self as 'victim' is great sign of growth

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USATSI

Why Aldon Smith not labeling self as 'victim' is great sign of growth

My amateur opinion was that Aldon Smith never took responsibility for his actions.

Maybe I was wrong. But that’s the impression I got from him, including a time we spoke at length during the 2014 offseason when he came by our studios on Third Street in San Francisco. He visited some tech companies in the South Bay and our studios to get out and gain a greater perspective in life.

On the outside, it looked as if his life was spiraling out of control. But when you spoke with him, he portrayed himself as if he had everything under control. And he could be convincing, too.

That’s why I never really thought Smith had a chance to succeed in a comeback attempt.

Then, I read something Wednesday night that changed my mind. Or, at least, it gave me hope that Smith has turned an important corner. Smith posted a statement on his Instagram account after signing a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

It read:

There is beauty in the struggle.

Life will always present us w/tests. I’ve learned how to take a different perspective on the adversities of life. Instead of looking at life as a victim, I have embraced the journey as God has planned it, making exponential strides towards becoming a better man.

Take this time that we have away from our normal day to day activities and think about changing your perspectives. Focus not on how bad this situation is but instead on how we can all come out of this better people. Let’s work on the things we have been putting off and grow towards our ultimate potential.

I never thought Smith was a bad guy. Never. His was a sad story, for sure.

But I always felt he never took responsibilities for his actions -- the actions that derailed his Hall-of-Fame start with the 49ers and ended his tenure with the Raiders before it really even began.

There might have been plenty of underlying reasons Smith had run-ins with the law and issues with substances of abuse. But there are also a lot of people who went through worse and did not repeatedly make the same mistakes, the same poor decisions.

I was not sure how to feel about the latest, unexpected Smith news after Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and The Athletic broke the story that Smith signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Glazer described Smith as “clean and sober now.” He added, it is “incredible how much he’s turned his life around.” Glazer revealed he has been around Smith for more than a year with the Merging Vets & Players program. Smith has been “amazing in helping veterans dealing with sobriety issues while getting help himself.”

While I did not doubt any of what Glazer described, what provided the most reason for hope came from Smith -- “instead of looking at life as a victim.” I can’t tell you how happy I was to read those words.

Smith is 30. He has not played in the NFL since 2015. I can only imagine what he faces daily. It is not just a matter of mental toughness or will power. If only it were that easy for him and the many others who deal with similar issues.

It means little to me how well Smith performs on the field this season and, possibly, in the next few years. The important part is that he sets himself up for the many, many years after his playing days are over.

This is a great step on that journey.

NFL rumors: Aldon Smith, Cowboys agree to terms as ex-49er, Raider returns

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AP

NFL rumors: Aldon Smith, Cowboys agree to terms as ex-49er, Raider returns

He's back.

Former 49ers and Raiders defensive lineman Aldon Smith reportedly is returning to the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, FOX's Jay Glazer reported Wednesday night.

NFL Media's Ian Rapaport later reported that Smith has agreed to one-year, $4 million contract.

Smith, the No. 7 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, spent the first four seasons of his career with San Francisco, totaling 44.0 sacks over his first 50 games. A series of personal conduct violations and run-ins with the law ultimately ended his tenure with the 49ers. He then played nine games with the Oakland Raiders in 2015, but has not played in the NFL since.

The deal is contingent on reinstatement from an indefinite ban levied after multiple violations of the substance abuse policy. A contract signifies confidence that he will be reinstated.

Reinstatement to the NFL requires proof of prolonged avoidance of substance of abuse (supported by clean drug tests), and a strong case made to the league.

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders go offense/defense in latest mock draft]

In Dallas, Smith would reunite with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who was his position coach throughout his time with San Francisco.

The 49ers are scheduled to play the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in 2020.