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The Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Patrick Willis participates in drills during training camp on Thursday.

49ers notes: Aldon Smith plans to meet with Goodell in the ‘near future’

Published: Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014 - 10:55 pm

Aldon Smith said Thursday he will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York some time in the “near future” to discuss the incidents for which he was sentenced last week, but a date has not been set. Goodell will decide on any suspension for Smith, the 49ers’ top pass rusher, shortly thereafter.

A judge last week sentenced Smith to 12 days on a work crew after he pleaded “no contest” to DUI and gun possession charges. He is expected to serve that sentence on Mondays, a day off for the 49ers. Smith voluntarily entered an alcohol rehabilitation center following his September DUI and missed six weeks of the season. A month later, Goodell said that stint would be considered when doling out any punishment.

The DUI arrest was the second in 11/2 years for Smith, who was pulled over in Miami Beach after his rookie season. Those charges later were reduced to reckless driving.

A police spokeswoman in Los Angeles also said Smith was suspected to have been drinking in April when he was arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport. Smith’s blood-alcohol content wasn’t tested, however, and the bomb-threat charge was dropped.

Smith countered the notion that he had been drinking in Los Angeles by saying he’s been sober since going to the rehab facility in September. “I’ve been able to maintain (sobriety). It’s going good,” he said.

As for his meeting with Goodell, Smith would appear to be free Monday and Aug. 2, when the 49ers, who began training camp this week, are off. They also will be within a three-hour drive of Goodell from Aug. 6 to 11 while in Baltimore for an exhibition game and several joint practices.

Smith said he never has reported to training camp in better shape, crediting a new workout protocol and a better outlook.

“Everything’s about growth, and I just keep growing,” he said. “This process has been a growing process, and I’m in a better spot than I have been.”

Delayed debut – When the 49ers hit the practice field Thursday afternoon, Marcus Lattimore was on an exercise cycle.

The running back, who spent last season recovering from a gruesome knee injury in college, still is coming back from the injury and began camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Asked if the issue is with Lattimore’s surgically reconstructed knee or the hamstring strain that bothered him in the spring, coach Jim Harbaugh said “a combination of the two” before referring questions to team doctors.

Four draft picks are also out of action to start camp: center Marcus Martin, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey.

Lynch hurt his hamstring in the spring and Ellington and Martin suffered minor ankle injuries away from the team facility during the recent break. Ramsey’s injury is unknown. Harbaugh said none of the rookies is expected to miss much time, with Ellington likely back first.

Dazzling debut – First-round draft pick Jimmie Ward, who sat out spring practices while recovering from a foot injury, stood out in his first practice with the team.

Ward lined up with the second-team defense, in the slot cornerback position. He had one of the interceptions – Aldon Smith had the other – when he dove for a pass that was deflected by cornerback Chris Cook. The pass was thrown by Colin Kaepernick and intended for receiver Chuck Jacobs.

The best way to describe Ward is rangy. He has long arms and is quick in and out of his breaks, which is ideal for the slot cornerback spot. He’s not huge, and he looked more like a cornerback than a safety Thursday.

The reason he’s listed as a safety is the ferocity of his hits, something that wasn’t allowed during Thursday’s non-padded session. The team won’t have a full-contact practice until Saturday.


Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

Read more articles by Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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