San Francisco 49ers

49ers pregame: Aaron Lynch starts with Skuta injured, Smith still suspended

Aldon Smith and Dan Skuta are unavailable today, giving rookie Aaron Lynch his first start at outside linebacker.
Aldon Smith and Dan Skuta are unavailable today, giving rookie Aaron Lynch his first start at outside linebacker. The Bee

NEW ORLEANS -- Aldon Smith's nine-game suspension was not reduced because he did not fulfill the counseling mandate including in the suspension, according to a report today by ESPN. The report, citing two unnamed sources, said Smith did more than asked in terms of community service.

The 49ers and Smith's representatives felt that Smith's suspension would be shortened because he behaved so well during his time off. Smith took to Twitter to presumably dispute the report: “It's sad when people wrong you, then try to justify it with more BS!!!” Smith wrote.

On Tuesday, after it became clear Smith’s suspension wouldn’t be reduced, his agent, Doug Hendrickson, wrote on Twitter: “Let me be very clear! @AldonSmith complied with EVERY guideline and all rules. Was exceptional in the community.”

Meanwhile, at least two rookies will start on defense against the Saints today, including Aaron Lynch, who will play left outside linebacker opposite Ahmad Brooks. Brooks will move to the right. Lynch gets his start because Dan Skuta is out with an ankle injury. Skuta had been starting in place of Smith.

Corey Lemonier and Chase Thomas, who was bumped up from the practice squad Saturday, also are available at outside linebacker. he is wearing No. 58.

Chris Borland will start in place of Patrick Willis at inside linebacker. Willis has missed the last three and a half games with a toe injury that has not improved. Two other rookies, center marcus Martin and nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward, also could start today.

For only the second time this season, defensive end Tank Carradine is active. Carradine did not play any defensive snaps in his previous activation, which came in Week 2. The 49ers released Demarcus Dobbs, who had been the primary backup at right defensive end, last week. He was quickly signed by Seattle.

At cornerback, the team’s top three players -- Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox -- are active for the first time since Week 1. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio hinted that Brock, who is working his way back from a toe injury, would be worked back in slowly.

49ers inactives

QB Josh Johnson

WR Quinton Patton

CB Leon McFadden

S L.J. McCray

LB Dan Skuta

LB Patrick Willis

OL Dillion Farrell

Saints inactives

WR Robert Meachem

RB Pierre Thomas

RB Khiry Robinson

CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste

LB David Hawthorne

OT Nick Becton

OL Eric Olsen.

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

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