Earlier this week, Jim Tomsula said 49ers players laughed at Internet reports that a fight between Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick preceded Smith’s Aug. 6 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick wasn’t laughing. Instead he blasted the reports, one of which claimed that Smith struck the quarterback’s Mercedes with his own car.
Kaepernick noted that he has a deal with Jaguar, not Mercedes, and that the day he and Smith allegedly had the confrontation, according to the initial reports, was a day off for the players and that no one was at the team facility.
“Along those lines, I feel that anyone who believes (what was written) and goes along with reporting that, just doesn’t have the best integrity,” he said. “To try to prey on athletes’ livelihoods while one is going through a tough time is embarrassing, to me, for people who do report that and put that out there and jumped on that bandwagon just to get Internet clicks and attention to their reports. It really is embarrassing that people do that.”
Kaepernick and Smith were part of the same 2011 draft class. Smith was the team’s first selection, No. 7 overall, while Kaepernick was taken in the second round.
Kaepernick said he’s “good friends” with Smith and noted that in June the outside linebacker came to Kaepernick’s golf tournament to raise money for the quarterback’s favorite charity, Camp Taylor. The program supports children and families of children with heart disease.
“It’s really tragic,” Kaepernick said. “I wish him the best. I hope he’s doing well. I hope everything turns out all right for him and he can get back on track.”
The 49ers released Smith on Friday. Santa Clara police are still investigating the case and it is expected to be handed to the county district attorney’s office shortly. The NFL also is looking into the matter.
O-line improvement? – Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said the 49ers want to settle on five starters along the offensive line sometime in the next three weeks. The team has been looking at several combinations in practice with center and right guard in flux.
“Somewhere right after that first preseason game (Saturday at Houston) but before the final preseason game,” Chryst said when asked when he would like to see the line settled. The team’s preseason finale is Sept. 3 against San Diego.
The offensive line seemed overmatched early in training camp. But Chryst said he’s seen progress the past few practices. He was asked if he believes the right “pieces” are in the building.
“At the start of camp, two plays out of five you think you have the right pieces,” he said. “Then you get to this part of camp and you’re thinking, maybe, seven out of 10 plays you think you’ve got the right pieces. But you’re trying to (get) to every snap you think you’ve got the right pieces. And I think that’s the value of these reps we’re getting in.”
Humbled by praise – Arik Armstead said he was flattered by veteran Darnell Dockett’s lofty praise last week but is remaining humble as he tries to climb the 49ers’ steep defensive-line depth chart. Dockett said he felt Armstead will be better than his ex-Arizona teammate, Calais Campbell, who is similar in size and considered one of the NFL’s top 3-4 defensive ends.
“Calais is an excellent player,” Armstead said. “But I’m my own person. And I have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to get. I learn from other people, but I don’t want to be like anyone else.”
With defensive linemen Quinton Dial and Kaleb Ramsey (shoulder) out because of minor injuries in recent practices, Armstead’s snap count has increased. He’s mostly been playing left defensive end with the second-team unit.
That’s also the spot Dockett plays, and Armstead said he’s been watching the veteran closely and asking questions.
“Technique things, moves and how to set up (opponents),” he said. “The guy’s been playing 11 years, so he’s got a lot of knowledge.”
Injuries – Safety Antoine Bethea was given a rest Wednesday with Craig Dahl filling in with the first-string defense. Receivers Dres Anderson and Bruce Ellington continue to miss practice, but Chuck Jacobs returned.