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49ers exercise LB Aldon Smith’s 2015 option

49ers exercise LB Aldon Smith’s 2015 option

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have exercised their 2015 contract option for linebacker Aldon Smith, making the decision despite the star defender’s legal trouble that included an arrest at Los Angeles International Airport just more than two weeks ago.

The team faced a Saturday deadline to decide on Smith’s immediate future, and general manager Trent Baalke suggested last week the team would keep the fearsome pass-rusher around. 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.

He had 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games last season, making eight starts.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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