Tag Archives: San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ Aldon Smith sorry for ‘letting everybody down’ 


By The Associated Press

Aldon Smith

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Missouri alumni Aldon Smith wants all San Francisco 49ers fans and teammates to know he’s sorry for two off-the-field incidents since last season ended that threatened to derail his life and career.

In his first public comments since he was stabbed at his home last month, Smith said Friday, “letting everybody down was probably the saddest part.” He also was charged in late January with driving under the influence in Miami Beach.

Smith said he had staples inserted to close the stab wounds and he’s now fully recovered and won’t miss any time in training camp. He declined to elaborate on the incident or his injuries.

“I just feel after the incidents that happened and the expectations that were set for me, I feel like I let the fans and everybody that looked at me like that down,” Smith said before the team’s first training camp practice in the afternoon. “It’s helped my focus out. I’m really focused more than ever, not to say that I wasn’t in the beginning. But I’m focused more than ever and I’m ready to go.”

Smith was drafted seventh overall last year and racked up a franchise-rookie record 14 sacks — best among NFL rookies — to go with two forced fumbles. He finished runner-up to Denver’s Von Miller for The Associated Press’ NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Converted from a defensive end out of Missouri, Smith piled up highlights next to All-Pros Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman at a remarkable rate. After all, he never started once — something that’s expected to change this season as he continues to blossom.

So when Smith was stabbed twice at his San Jose home during a party June 29, the incident raised concerns at 49ers headquarters. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he has spoken with Smith about the transgressions but will keep the conversations they’ve had private.

Smith enters his second year with another added twist.

The 22-year-old is working to be more than just a pass-rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme this offseason. The demanding shift requires more smarts and athleticism than anything the linebacker did as a rookie, and it’s a hurdle he knows he has to clear if he ever wants to be considered a Pro Bowl talent.

The 6-foot-4, 258-pounder is adjusting to chasing running backs and receivers in hopes of being an every down player – and a starter – for a defensive unit that propelled resurgent San Francisco to a 13-3 regular season and an overtime loss in the NFC championship game to the New York Giants. He’s hoping to play a bigger role for a team considered a strong Super Bowl contender.

Now he’s also hoping not to miss any more time.

“You just got to be aware of everything around you. I just got to make better decisions and surround myself with good people,” Smith said. “You definitely think about what happened, and how you want to be perceived and how you want your career to go.”

Tough first week for former Mizzou Tigers in the NFL

By Nick Gerhardt

With 15 players playing for 10 NFL teams, Mizzou has finally established a verifiable presence on rosters across the NFL. Yet the former Tigers didn’t fare much better than the 2011 Tiger team did against Arizona State on Friday.  Sean Weatherspoon and Martin Rucker earned media attention for gaffes on key plays, and most of their former teammates scarcely saw the field, if at all.

Weatherspoon, Atlanta’s starting linebacker, led the Falcon’s in tackles on Sunday in a 30-12 loss to the Chicago Bears. Despite his statistically significant performance, coach Mike Smith berated “Spoon” on the sidelines after the linebacker failed to tackle Chicago running back Matt Forte during a 56-yard touchdown reception.

Weatherspoon went for the glory shot, lowering his shoulder pads into Forte’s chest instead of tackling the running back conventionally.

“I had some steam and thought I could just knock him over,” Weatherspoon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s a good back. That’s where I have to be smarter and wrap him up.”

No one else touched Forte after Weatherspoon missed.

Mizzou alumnus and Falcon’s safety William Moore had three tackles in the loss.

Down by the bay, the 49ers’ two Smiths, defensive linemen Justin Smith and rookie Aldon Smith, took to the field for the first time in 2011. Justin Smith, a savvy 11-year veteran, sacked Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson twice and had four tackles overall. Aldon Smith entered the game for the first time on the third defensive play from scrimmage. He had no tackles, but he did bat down one of Jackson’s passes at the line. He replaced starter Parys Haralson whenever San Francisco lined up in the nickel package.

Former Mizzou quarterback and current Buffalo Bill’s wide receiver Brad Smith returned to the state of Missouri to face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bills rolled the Chiefs 41-7, but Smith didn’t have much to do with it. He rushed three times for six yards, returned a kickoff 21 yards and threw an interception to Chiefs’ cornerback Brandon Flowers.

Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin logged only one catch, for 20 yards, in the Eagle’s debut victory over former teammate Danario Alexander’s St. Louis Rams.
St. Louis deactivated Alexander, a wide receiver for the Rams as he was at Mizzou, for the contest.

Cowboy’s tight end Martin Rucker’s name never appears on the stat sheet after a Dallas loss to the New York Jets, but he still had an impact–albeit a negative one. After his teammate cornerback Bryan McCann steadied a punted ball on the opponent’s 1-yard line, Rucker swooped in and got his hands on the football. The tight end lost track of his feet, however, and when his toe touched the end zone chalk, Rucker essentially handed the Jets an extra 19 yards of valuable field position. It was the only time the announcers called Rucker’s name on Sunday.

San Diego Chargers’ reserve linebacker Andrew Gachkar recorded one assisted tackle, an unspectacular first stop for his NFL career.

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood had no tackles in the Steelers’ blowout loss to the Ravens, but make no mistake about it–Hood has established a place in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s defense. In a LeBeau “D,” though, the defensive tackles make fewer “stat” plays (tackles, forced fumbles, etc) because LeBeau predominately uses them to fill space in the trenches to open up the field for the linebacking corps. Hood subbed in frequently for starter Aaron Smith.

The Jaguars’ have the most Tigers on their roster of any NFL team, with backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, reserve cornerback Kevin Rutland, and the throwback–seven year veteran C.J. Mosley. Gabbert, a rookie, watched from the sidelines as Luke McCown led the Jags to a 16-14 finish over the Tennessee Titans. Fellow rookie Kevin Rutland was inactive for the game, and C.J. Mosley made no perceptible impact on the final outcome, statistically or otherwise.

Chase Daniel rocked the clipboard in New Orlean’s Thursday loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel has clearly expanded the program’s visibility on the professional level. Now, the waiting game begins. Will the influx or young former Missouri players make a major impact on the NFL this year?

Stay with KBIA Sports for more news on all the Tigers in the NFL.

49ers pull surprise, draft Aldon Smith at No. 7

Aldon Smith was the No. 7 player taken in the 2011 draft. (Photo by Ross Taylor)

The San Francisco 49ers drafted a Mizzou player, but it wasn’t Blaine Gabbert. Instead, the 49ers selected Aldon Smith with the No. 7 pick. Smith is expected to play outside linebacker in the NFL.

While Smith set the Mizzou sack record in 2009 as a defensive end, most teams saw the 6-foot-5 former Tiger as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. New coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to decide whether to run a 4-3 or a 3-4, but taking Smith may be a window into the team’s future strategy.

Smith suffered a broken leg in Mizzou’s nail-biter victory over San Diego State last September, missing three games before returning for the Tigers’ win over Oklahoma. Smith had a 58-yard interception return in that game.

UPDATE: here’s some of what Harbaugh, who confirmed Smith will play linebacker (despite the first quote), had to say about the newest addition to his team via the San Jose Mercury News:

Excited about adding a Missouri Tiger on our football team, another one on our defensive line to go along with Justin Smith.

I’m really impressed with him as a person. He’s an All-American young man. Has great wiring, many blessings from mom, dad and God, and we just feel like he’s going to be someone who’s obviously going to add to our football team and make us a better football team.

The other thing I’m really excited about is his wingspan. It’s Dwyane Wade-like. Almost eight-feet in wingspan. Not eight feet, it’s plus-eight inches from his height.

And, on Smith’s transition to linebacker:

There’s definitely a learning curve. You know, you’re talking about playing predominantly in a three-point stance… but there were times he was on his feet and we could see it. So it’s not a blind projection. But there will be a learning curve. There will be our times in our defense where he’ll play in his three-point stance, in the nickel when you go to the defensive end position or even an inside shade on the defensive line.

He’s got quite a bit of versatility.

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