Justin Smith vouches for Aldon Smith's character

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Justin Smith vouches for Aldon Smith's character

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers expect a lot more from outside linebacker Aldon Smith this season on the field as he makes the transition to an every-down player.But most of the news surrounding Smith during the offseason came from off-the-field incidents. First, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in January. Last month, he was stabbed twice when his house party in the hills above San Jose got out of control.The second-year player has some of his more influential teammates firmly in his corner.
"He's a great guy, on and off the field," said veteran defensive lineman Justin Smith. "From my own personal standpoint, I've never seen where a victim gets called out."Justin Smith, a 12-year veteran who, like Aldon Smith, attended the University of Missouri, helped get the 49ers' first-round draft pick acclimated to the NFL and the Bay Area during the lockout last summer. Justin Smith has assisted Aldon Smith on and off the field.Justin Smith confirmed he has spoken to Aldon Smith, but he declined to share the message of the private conversations.
Aldon Smith sustained small stab wounds to his shoulder and abdomen on June 30, sources told CSNBayArea.com, from attempting to break up a fight at his residence. Two others sustained gunshots wounds at the party. The Santa Clara Sheriff's Department has yet to identify any suspects.A year ago, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Smith, "If he stays humble and hungry, he'll be good."On Saturday, Fangio said he believes Smith has not wandered off that path. Smith was contrite when he spoke the media on Friday.
"I still think he's humble and hungry, as it relates to football," Fangio said. "I think he got himself into a couple of unfortunate situations. And I think he's learned from both of them. Hopefully, those will be few and far between as we move forward."He and I have spoken, and he's spoke to other people about it. I think Aldon's mature enough and smart enough to know the difference of what he needs to do and what he doesn't need to do and hopefully he'll do a better job of avoiding those situations in the future. I have confidence that he will."Fangio is also confident that Smith will step in and fulfill his responsibilities at right outside linebacker with the same success he enjoyed as a rookie pass-rush specialist. Smith set the 49ers rookie sack record with 14 sacks. This season he takes over the full-time role from Parys Haralson, who returns as the team's top backup outside linebacker."He's going to be expected to take over for Parys and do as well as Parys did or better," Fangio said. "Obviously, he's a lot further along right now than he was last year at this time. He got to practice a lot last year during the season. He got all this offseason work. But he's still nowhere near what he needs to be."

McDonough, Paton scheduled for second interviews for 49ers' GM job

McDonough, Paton scheduled for second interviews for 49ers' GM job

Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton are scheduled for second interviews for the 49ers’ general manager position, a league source confirmed to CSNBayArea.com.

The Atlanta Falcons have provided 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe time to meet with presumptive head coach Kyle Shanahan from Friday afternoon through all day Saturday. The Falcons are scheduled to travel on Sunday to Houston, site of Super Bowl 51. The interviews with McDonough and Paton are expected to be held on Saturday in Atlanta.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, is not allowed to be officially hired as 49ers coach until after the Falcons play in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots. But Shanahan is expected to take part in the process Saturday in which the 49ers will arrive at a decision on their next general manager.

The 49ers announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the team’s 2-14 season, which included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

Paton originally interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 6. He met with York and Marathe in Atlanta on the same day Shanahan took part in his first interview with the club. McDonough interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 13 in Santa Clara.

Colin Kaepernick tops list of 49ers' offseason decisions

Colin Kaepernick tops list of 49ers' offseason decisions

When the 49ers’ next general manager and coach settle into their offices in Santa Clara, among their first decisions will be to determine which of the team’s pending free agents are worth keeping around.

Team’s executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe have a window to speak with Super Bowl-bound Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan beginning Friday evening and concluding Saturday night.

During that time frame, the 49ers hope to determine which of the team’s general manager candidates is the best fit with Shanahan to collaborate all of the organization’s football decisions. Shanahan is not allowed to be hired officially until after Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5.

The 49ers have exclusive negotiating rights with all of their scheduled free agents through March 6. The window for open negotiating for all teams with all free agents runs from March 7 at 9 a.m. until March 9 at 1 p.m. The free-agent signing period begins after that.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ scheduled free agents:

QB Colin Kaepernick: He is in a different situation. Kaepernick is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract. If he does not, it would seem likely the 49ers would release him to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay. Statistically, Kaepernick had his best season since his first full season as a starter. The question is whether a new coach and a new GM, who are given the power to tear down the roster, would want to stick with the same quarterback?

QB Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert got his opportunity to start the season, but his subpar play prompted Chip Kelly to bench him after five games. Toward the end of the season, Gabbert had sunk to No. 3 on the depth chart behind Kaepernick and Christian Ponder.

QB Christian Ponder: He turns 29 next month and has not played in an NFL regular-season game since 2014, when he attempted 44 passes for the Minnesota Vikings. There is not much evidence to support the argument for a contract offer.

QB Thad Lewis: He’s already 29. And he has not attempted a pass in an NFL regular-season game since 2013, when he appeared in six games with the Buffalo Bills. His season ended after the first exhibition game with a torn ACL.

RB Shaun Draughn: He is a good special-teams player and a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield, but Draughn averaged just 2.6 yards on 74 rushing attempts as Carlos Hyde’s primary backup. The 49ers will look to upgrade this position.

WR Quinton Patton: The 49ers need more playmakers on the outside. It’s doubtful a fresh set of eyes will come to the 49ers and place a high priority on retaining Patton, who caught 37 passes for 408 yards with no touchdowns while making 14 starts.

WR Jeremy Kerley: When slot receiver Bruce Ellington sustained a season-ending hamstring injury in the exhibition season, the 49ers responded with a trade to acquire Kerley. He turned out to be the team’s only consistent pass-catching threat with 64 receptions for 667 yards and three TDs. He was also a safe option on punt returns. Kerley is definitely worth considering for the next regime.

WR Rod Streater: The veteran receiver, who the 49ers acquired in a trade just before the start of the regular season, was underutilized. The 49ers will unquestionably consider all upgrade opportunities via free agency and the draft.

TE Jim Dray: A late-season pickup due to injuries, Dray does not figure to be a priority to re-sign.

G Andrew Gardner: Gardner came to the 49ers late in the season due to injuries because he was already familiar with Kelly’s system. When he saw significant playing time in the season finale, it was his first action since appearing in three games with the Eagles in 2015.

K Phil Dawson: He turned 42 on Monday, but he can still kick. With extra points moving back to 33 yards, accuracy is more important than ever. There should be a spot for Dawson in the NFL – if he chooses to continue his career.

NT Glenn Dorsey: He will turn 32 in August, and his body appears to be breaking down. He battled injuries throughout the season after returning from a severe knee injury in 2015. When healthy, he’s still a good player. But can he remain healthy for an extended period of time?

DL Tony Jerod-Eddie: He was near the bottom of the depth chart throughout the season, as the 49ers deactivated him for seven games. He does not figure to be a priority for a new personnel department.

DL Chris Jones: Claimed off waivers from Miami for the final six games of the season, Jones played very well in his brief stint with the team. He deserves a chance to show what he can do in training camp – with some team.

LB Michael Wilhoite: Through all the problems the 49ers had at inside linebacker, Wilhoite was unable to hold onto a starting job. This position will be one of the areas the organization must address with the uncertainty of NaVorro Bowman’s attempted return from a torn Achilles.

LB Gerald Hodges: The organization is trying to build a new culture. Hodges left the team short-handed for the game at Atlanta due to his violation of team rules.

LB Nick Bellore: He came to the 49ers because of his special-teams play. He ended up starting 10 games in place of Bowman, and things did not go well for the 49ers’ defense during that time.

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In addition, guard Andrew Tiller, running back DuJuan Harris, and defensive backs Marcus Cromartie and Chris Davis are scheduled to be restricted free agents. The 49ers can retain contract rights to those players with minimum tenders.