49ers exercise LB Aldon Smiths 2015 option

The San Francisco 49ers know Aldon Smith still has plenty of work to do in order to repair his tarnished image and stay on track away from the football field. They want to be an integral part of his self-improvement project, exercising their 2015 fifth-year contract option for the star linebacker on Friday. The team made the decision despite Smiths long list of legal trouble that included an arrest at Los Angeles International Airport just more than two weeks ago. San Francisco faced a Saturday deadline to decide on Smiths immediate future, and general manager Trent Baalke suggested last week the team would keep the fearsome pass-rusher around for the near future at least -- for 2015, "and `16, and `17 and `18." The 49ers will provide Smith with the support he needs to deal with his rash of off-the-field issues. Yet Baalke has made it clear there must be positive change, and soon. San Francisco realizes Smith still could face a suspension from the NFL for his DUI last September, and is expected to look for depth at linebacker during next weeks NFL draft. via 49ers exercise LB Aldon Smiths 2015 option | FOX Sports on MSN.

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