Aldon Smith said Tuesday he's learned a lot over the often tumultuous last year. One of the principle lessons, he said: "I think bad news sometimes circulates bigger than good news."
The speed and power of bad news was on display last week when a Twitter report that Smith had been "jumped" in a Columbia, Mo. restaurant created headlines in California and beyond. Columbia police acknowledge there was an incident at El Rancho restaurant but it wasn't serious enough to fill out a report. Smith called the ordeal "absurd."
His refrain Tuesday when asked about it: "Nothing happened."
The original Tweet likely would have gone unnoticed if not for Smith's checkered year. The headlines began in January with a DUI arrest and included an incident in which he received minor stab wounds at a wild house party he was hosting. He also was the passenger in a car that flipped two days before the 49ers played the Detroit Lions. Smith suffered a cut above his eye in the crash but played against the Lions.
He insisted Tuesday he's grown up in recent months."I hope so," he said. "That type of stuff? I mean, yeah. I'm growing up. I'm learning from my actions. I'm learning from everything -- good and bad. I'm maturing or whatever."
On the field, it's been nothing but good news. Smith, 23, leads the 49ers with 7 1/2 sacks and is one sack ahead of his pace from last year when he set the club's rookie record with 14 sacks overall. As the 49ers head into Week 10, their defense ranks No. 2 overall, No. 2 against the pass and No. 5 against the run.
Still, he said he thought that he and the 49ers defense were being overlooked by the national media. "I think we're going to play some of our best ball coming back from the bye week (in) the second half of the season," Smith said. "So if they don't see it now, they'll see it eventually."
-- Matt Barrows