SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Friday press conference.
TOMSULA: I think you’re all aware, the San Francisco 49ers released Aldon Smith today. It’s a sad day. This is a day that doesn’t have anything to do about football. Although he won’t be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he will be supported and helped, and he will not have to walk this path alone. That comes from our ownership down. He will not have to walk this path alone. We’re not worried about football. It has nothing to do with football. The other thing I would like to say, is there are people, I understand the platform that we are on. I understand where this goes in the news. What I would like to say is, if one person out there reads this, and you’re struggling, get help. Go get it. You’re worth it. You’re worth it. There’s value in every human being. Get the help. You don’t have to walk alone. Find it, it’s there. And although Aldon will not be playing football here, we will be supporting him. He will not be alone.
Q: Baalke had positive report, did you share the same thing?
TOMSULA: Absolutely. You saw a man fighting and working and trying. And I think to a man in this building, you had been to practice to watch him, the energy about him, where he’s at. Once again, real life. Everybody has struggles. They’re just in different ways.
Q: Why was the decision made to do this? He came out of jail and disputed the notion of a DUI?
TOMSULA: Number one, with the legal system and all that, I have no comment, obviously. From our perspective, for him, there are things that need to be addressed with 100 percent of everything he has. From a team perspective, these are completely different. And they don’t mix. I spoke to him this morning, and I would rather not talk about private conversations, with respect. So did the general manager.
Q: Was the decision made at that time?
Q: Was he involved in any in-house program?
TOMSULA: There I will not go. With this, it’s our policy, it’s my policy, as a man. I won’t go there. I will tell you, all I will say on that matter is Aldon Smith has been working really hard to correct things that he needs to corrected. And he has been working really hard to do the right thing.
Q: Mood of the team?
TOMSULA: It was unique. It was sadness. That’s what it was. Sadness for a guy, a person. Guys care about him. We care about that guy, deeply.
Q: Better to have him around during the suspension?
TOMSULA: And that was, I agree whole heartedly, and I think that was the right move, and I think it did help him.
Q: Is there concern that without that structure, that it won’t be a positive?
TOMSULA: Again, Matt, without getting particulars, and I’m not going to get into particulars, he won’t, he does not have to walk this road alone. So, the guy is working really hard, and he had a pitfall.
Q: Has he accepted that overture by the team to help him through this?
TOMSULA: Again, that’s ongoing. But I think so, yes.
Q: How much faith do you have in Smith to change his life even though he has said many times that he had turned his life around. Will he ever play football again? Do you think that door is closed, or no?
TOMSULA: I’ll answer that in two parts. The first part is he has been turning his life around. He is in the process of turning his life around. People stumble. But he is in that process of turning his life. He is in that process. In terms of him playing football again, I sure hope so. I think he can, and I want him to.
Q: How much did what happened with Ray McDonald…was that precedent set?
TOMSULA: I understand you have to ask those questions. We do take each individual case…My point on that, and I don’t know that everybody will understand me but I can only be honest, we’re dealing with human beings. Living, breathing human beings. They’re not the same. The circumstances that they’re under or they come here with are not the same. The things that are grabbing onto them as they get here are not the same. The things we may read on what went wrong may be the same, but the things leading up to that are not and we don’t treat them the same. We try to be consistent in a very gray area, and we try to look at each individual and understand how to help him.
Q: Did you talk to the team this morning?
TOMSULA: No, ma’am. A couple of the guys I spoke to personally, but we have a team meeting every day and we will have that. And that was my request to not have our guys out there right now. They’re hurting, OK?
Q: You said you and Trent talked. Did Jed also factor into this decision?
TOMSULA: Yes, certainly. Organizational.
Q: Did you have your walkthrough?
TOMSULA: Yes, sir.
Q: And what time is your team meeting scheduled for?
TOMSULA: This afternoon. Two. It’s the same one we have every day.
Q: Is there any concern the field won’t be ready for opening day?
TOMSULA: I don’t have any concerns about the field being ready for opening day. Again, to address that, we do the same thing every morning. It’s the field guys and the equipment guys. We have our meeting, the trainers come in and we go through everything operationally. They, quite frankly, recommended that the field was not ready for us to go back, so they told us to go back to the practice field. So we just go on that recommendation. That’s the way that happens every morning. We have the practice field – you see us on Field 1 and Field 2, and then you see us on one end, then we go to the other end and you see the red zones get worked around. It’s just the field rotation. That’s what they recommended and that’s where we are. They handle that every morning.
Q: Do you have a message to the fans about this?
TOMSULA: It will be fine. I have no question in my mind that it will be a great surface when we play our game.
Q: You talked about the Aldon the person. At what point does the football side of your operation have to kick in and say, “How do we compensate for losing one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL?”
TOMSULA: Well, we’ve drafted. We have a group there. Regardless if we felt that area was loaded or we had a lot of people, a lot of good, quality talent in that group, which we do. But that would have not factored into this decision. Not in this case.
Q: Along those lines, you still have a veteran at that position in Ahmad Brooks. Do you move him over to the right side, do you shuffle that at all or do you keep him on the left?
TOMSULA: Again, you’ve seen us out there. He has worked both sides. We cross-train all of that in our individual work, and then we settle. I haven’t even talked about big moves, no. We’re going to keep playing football. That group of guys there, they’re all doing really well right now. We feel really good about all the talent in that room.
Q: Aldon came out of jail and disputed that it was a DUI. Did he also dispute that with team officials when they met with him, and in your mind did it matter one way or the other what the chargers were?
TOMSULA: I don’t even want to discuss anything about that. I don’t want to answer that question because I feel I’m getting too close to legal things.