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49ers will “work hard” to retain Aldon Smith

Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith


The big story of the 49ers offseason was the steady stream of departures from the team.

General Manager Trent Baalke would like to generate a different headline with linebacker Aldon Smith, who is in the final year of his contract. Baalke said that the team is going to “work hard to make sure” that Smith remains with the team and indicated that the team feels Smith has moved in the right direction after off-field issues led him to miss 14 games over the last two seasons.

“Aldon’s like any young player,” Baalke said, via “He’s growing up, he’s maturing. You see that with a lot of these guys. Some of them get themselves in a few more situations that you wish they didn’t ... [but I’m] really pleased with the way he’s handled things, the way he’s working both personally and professionally. I think he’s doing an outstanding job. He’s always been a great teammate. He’s always had an excellent work ethic. Those are things he’s even stepped up.”

Baalke didn’t give any timeline a deal might get done nor did he say where discussions about a new deal stood. After 2013’s trip to rehab and 2014’s suspension, Smith would likely see more money if he plays well and stays on the field for 16 games but the prospect of security ahead of those unknowns could lead things to play out more quickly.