Following linebacker Aldon Smith‘s release from the 49ers yesterday, some of his former teammates voiced their concern for the 25-year-old. Still, consider all the turnover this offseason, the players know it’s best to look forward, and they made that clear in their comments to Eric Branch of SFGate.com.
“It’s a tough loss for us,” said wideout Anquan Boldin. “Aldon’s a great football player and it’s tough to replace someone like that … As a team, we have to move forward. We have no choice. And I think we’ll get over it. We’ve got some guys behind him that are capable of getting the job done.
“I think everybody was shocked. I wasn’t here the entire offseason, but from what I’ve gathered he’s worked his butt off. And it looked that way when I got here. So I think it was just a shock to everybody.”
Let’s check out some more reactions to Smith’s arrest and subsequent release…
- The 49ers deliberately protected themselves when they restructured Smith’s contract in March, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. The writer reports that the team had previously considered releasing the embattled player, and they were leaning towards not picking up his fifth-year option for 2015. When the sides restructured, Smith signed a deal that would only guarantee his salary if he was on the roster for the whole season. “It wasn’t like they said, ‘If you don’t do this, you’re cut,’” said Doug Hendrickson, one of Smith’s representatives. “The thought behind it is that Aldon realizes he’s been his own worst enemy. He has come a long way since he was suspended. Ultimately his goal, my goal, and the team’s goal is for him to sign a long-term contract with the Niners.”
- Smith was “poised for a revival,” says Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, and the writer believes coach Jim Tomsula‘s comments following the linebacker’s release echoed that sentiment. “You saw a man fighting and working and trying, and I think, to a man in this building, and you’ve been to practice to watch him, the energy about him,” Tomsula said. “Once again, real life. Everybody has struggles – they’re just in different ways.”
- Despite the Raiders‘ clear need for a pass-rushing defender, Steve Corkran of Raiderbeat.com doesn’t believe the team should pursue Smith. While the team is in “dire” need of an impact defender, Corkran says the embattled linebacker “isn’t worth the trouble.”
- Smith’s issues are a reminder of what Broncos linebacker Von Miller could have become, writes Mike Klis of 9News in Denver. Both players were 2011 first-round picks, and they both battled substance abuse issues earlier in their careers. However, Miller has managed to stay clean over the past couple of seasons. “He was there for me and I’m going to be there for him—wherever that may be,” Miller said. “He’s just going through a tough patch right now. We all go through a tough patch. I have full confidence that he will be able to get out of it. We’ll see the same Aldon Smith that we saw his first two years in the league. It’s just tough right now. People go through tough times. I’ll be the first one to tell you. I’ve been through a lot of stuff and I’m going to be there for him however long it is to get him back right.”