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Niners hopeful Aldon Smith stays with team long term

Aldon Smith will miss his fifth consecutive game when the 49ers play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday, but San Francisco's front office remains hopeful about the pass rusher's chances of playing again this season -- and far into the future.

"That's obviously the ultimate goal," general manager Trent Baalke said Friday morning from the U.K., per CSN Bay Area.

"At the same time, like with every player on our football team, there's a lot of things that go into those long-term decisions. And we'll continue to monitor his situation and do what we ultimately feel is the best for the organization when it comes to long-term deals."

Smith entered in-patient treatment for substance abuse last month and remains on the team's reserve/non-football illness list following his September arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. Smith also was charged this month with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.

The linebacker's rookie contract expires after next season, but the 49ers are permitted by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement to negotiate an extension as soon as this offseason.

Baalke emphasized the current focus is less on Smith's immediate impact than getting him well and "developing that trust factor again." Smith was in line for a monster new deal after notching 19.5 sacks and earning team MVP honors last season. But before the 49ers pay Smith another cent, they want to see a changed man, something Baalke can't put a clock to.

"There's no timeline on it," he said. "... But our ultimate goal hasn't changed, and that's to help Aldon get back to a place where he feels very comfortable and can move forward in a very positive manner."

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