Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL

Getty Images

Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL

Aldon Smith is one of the most dominant defensive players to wear a 49ers uniform in the 21st century. The Missouri product broke the 49ers’ single-season sack record with 19.5 in 2012, but a series of troubling off-the-field incidents have kept him out of the NFL since 2015.

He recently was reinstated by the NFL and agreed to join the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year contract, and he spoke to ESPN about his path back to football.

"It has been a journey, indeed, and a journey I'm grateful for," Smith said. "I've had time to really work on myself and take advantage of all the support and things that have been offered to me. The way I look at where I am now to who I was in the past, I was a young teenage boy in a man's body, so a man on the outside but a boy on the inside. The way I handled the issues, life, was in that immature manner and that was fear-based and not just handling things the way I should have.”

Smith says he has spent the past year in a sober-living environment and working out every day in Los Angeles. 

His ability on the field never was in question, as former 49ers teammate Arik Armstead recently called Smith the most talented guy he’s ever played with.

[RELATED: George Kittle's receiving, blocking mastery for 49ers shown by one stat]

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula, who was Smith’s position coach in San Francisco, is the defensive line coach for the Cowboys and was a factor in his choosing to sign with Dallas.

"Just seemed like the best fit," Smith said. "Being with Jim in San Francisco and him being here and then the meeting me and (Cowboys head coach) Mike (McCarthy) had, the way that that happened, we seemed like we clicked the first time we talked."

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Smith can make after multiple years away from the NFL. It’s always nice to see someone find their way back onto the right path in life.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Watch 49ers' George Kittle bench press a ridiculous amount in workout

Watch 49ers' George Kittle bench press a ridiculous amount in workout

If you want to know how strong George Kittle is, you can just ask Marcus Williams.

If you don't have the ability to contact an NFL safety and/or don't want to troll one on social media while trying to do so, you can just watch this video of the 49ers tight end bench-pressing a ridiculous amount of weight courtesy of trainer Josh Cuthbert.

That's five plates on each side of the bar, which Cuthbert said in a comment on his post added up to 375 pounds.

So, Kittle could bench press new 49ers left tackle Trent Williams' listed weight on the team website ... and still have 55 pounds to work with.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Cuthbert conspiculously included the hashtag #PayGeorgeKittle, referring to the star tight end's contract extension negotiations with the 49ers. Kittle didn't share that post on his Instagram story, which shouldn't be much of a surprise considering his prior comments about not wanting to hold out.

“Being a captain, I want to be there for my team and I need to show the right leadership skills,” Kittle said.

Even if Kittle did hold out, it'd be hard to argue against the example that video would set from a distance.

[RELATED: Taylor shows off muscles, gets roasted by 49ers teammates]

It's not clear if Kittle and the 49ers will agree to a contract extension before training camp is scheduled to begin later this month. NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported last month that the two sides haven't appeared to make much progress.

If and when Kittle reaches an agreement with the 49ers, they'll know he pretty easily could bench-press the table it's signed upon.

49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

The 49ers love to rip on one another, and no player's Instagram posts are safe.

Exhibit No. 4,949 (give or take)? Trent Taylor's thirst trap Instagram photo from earlier this week.

View this post on Instagram

Stache Gainz (early stages)

A post shared by Trent Nelson Taylor (@trent5taylor) on

Based on the picture above, you surely know what followed.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Taylor didn't play a single game in 2019, missing all of the season due to complications with his injured foot. You wouldn't know that reading the comments, though.

The 26-year-old slot receiver was a fixture at the 49ers' player-organized workouts earlier in the offseason, rebuilding a connection with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that was so strong in 2017. Taylor could play a big role this season, considering Deebo Samuel and Richie James' offseason injuries.

[RELATED: What Garrett's reported extension means for Bosa, 49ers]

The 49ers hope Taylor can reach his 2017 level, and some big performances surely would lead to more Instagram posts.

That, more than anything, might be why his teammates want to see Taylor succeed.