Aldon Smith was having an excellent offseason and seemed to be getting past the issues that plagued him the last few years, his teammates said Friday. That’s what makes his arrest and subsequent release from the team so painful.
“I wasn’t here the entire offseason, but from the time I was here, the only thing I’ve seen from him was him working,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. “I saw him in good spirits. I mean, he was looking the best I’d ever seen him. He was having a great camp.”
Third-year player Corey Lemonier mostly filled in at Smith’s right outside linebacker spot during Friday’s practice, although Ahmad Brooks rotated from his usual spot on the left at times, too.
Aaron Lynch, who had a strong rookie season last year, is the favorite to start opposite Brooks when the season begins. Lynch, however, dealt with a back injury in spring and is still rounding into shape.
Another possibility at outside linebacker is third-round draft pick Eli Harold, who has shown flashes of ability throughout the first week of training camp.
“Coming off the edge (nicely), a smart young fellow,” veteran safety Antoine Bethea said of Harold. “He’s getting in the playbook. With the young guys, that’s the most important thing.”
Several 49ers said they reached out to Smith either with phone calls or text messages to offer support.
“It’s tough,” safety Eric Reid said. “That guy may be the best pass rusher in the league. But it’s about more than football.”
Turf issues – Jim Tomsula said he wasn’t worried that the field at Levi’s Stadium won’t be ready for the regular season. The team had to cancel a public practice there Sunday because it failed to hold up during recent practices.
“The (grounds crew), quite frankly, recommended that the field was not ready for us to go back,” Tomsula said. “They told us to go back to the practice field. So we’re going with that recommendation. It will be fine. There’s no question in my mind it will be a great surface when we play our games.”
Et cetera – The 49ers signed Steve Beauharnais to provide depth at inside linebacker. Beauharnais was a 2013 seventh-round draft pick by the Patriots and also spent time on Washington’s roster. He is wearing No. 40.
▪ Rookies Arik Armstead and Jaquiski Tartt returned to practice Friday after being held back recently. Armstead, a defensive end, was struck in the thigh in Wednesday’s session. Tartt, a safety, suffered a toe injury Tuesday.
▪ Tight end Garrett Celek (illness) and wide receivers Bruce Ellington (leg) and Issac Blakeney (leg) were held out of practice. So was defensive lineman Tank Carradine, who is dealing with an illness.