SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Embattled linebacker Aldon Smith said he's in tip-top shape physically and mentally, crediting that in part to his sobriety and a different approach to offseason workouts.
"I'm in the best shape I've been in coming into a camp, and my mind is probably in the best spot it's been in, so I'm feeling great," Smith said Thursday before the 49ers' first full-squad practice of training camp.
Smith will at some point in the "near future" leave 49ers camp to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell regarding potential discipline. No firm date has been set, Smith said, but one option could be during the 49ers' East Coast trip in two weeks to Baltimore.
"That's in their hands," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of a potential suspension, which figures to range from two to six games, based on recent history. "They will discipline if they feel he warrants it."
Last Friday, Smith was sentenced in Santa Clara County Superior Court to 12 days of work release and three years' probation, stemming from his no-contest pleas for illegal weapon possession and drunk driving.
"He's going through a process which is accounting for mistakes he made," Harbaugh said. "He's been given an opportunity to say what he's going to do and so far he's doing that."
"This process has been a growing process and I'm in a better spot than I have been," said Smith, arguably the league's premier pass rusher who has totaled 42 sacks in 43 regular-season games.
"You go through things in life and you learn a lot. I've learned a lot from my mistakes and grown from them."
One mistake came Sept. 20, when Smith was involved in a single-car accident in San Jose's Silver Creek neighborhood, resulting in his drunk-driving arrest. Smith played two days later against the Indianapolis Colts before checking himself into a treatment center and missing the 49ers' next five games.
Smith said of his sobriety: "I've been able to maintain and it's going good."
Part of Smith's probation guidelines state that he cannot consume alcohol or enter bars during the next three years.
Aside from his off-field lifestyle, Smith believes he can grow as a player in several areas, noting: "I'm far from reaching the top so I've got some time to improve."
That meant hitting offseason workouts "really hard," including taking part in the 49ers' nine-week program while the legal cloud hovered over his 24-year-old head. So he changed up some workouts and focused on improving not only his sometimes-suspect stamina but also his power and technique.
"It's good to be back on the field, doing something I love and something I enjoy, being around my teammates and everybody around here," Smith said.
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