49ers officials and its all-pro linebacker respond to a lawsuit naming the NFL star. Tony Kovaleski reports.
A day after the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit broke the story that 49ers All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith and former 49er Delanie Walker had been named in a lawsuit by a man who said he was shot during a 2012 party at Smith's house, the team, coach and players were commenting on the legal action, but not saying a whole lot.
Smith was sued Tuesday in Santa Clara County Court by a guest at that party, Ronndale Esporlas.
The lawsuit is clearly creating a distraction in the week before the team’s season opener.
The first response came Thursday morning in the form of a statement from 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke:
"The 49ers organization has been aware of this matter concerning Aldon Smith for some time. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, but will have no further comment at this time, as this is an ongoing legal matter."
At the Niners' headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday, Smith said the lawsuit came as no surprise but he declined to discuss it specifically.
Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers' head coach, when asked if he had spoken to Smith about the lawsuit, said, "the team is handling it.''
At the Titans' headquarters in Nashville, Walker said after the team's practice Wednesday that he's focused on the season opener Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"That's something that I can't worry about that happened a year ago,'' Walker said.
When asked by reporters if it was strange that a lawsuit is filed more than a year after the alleged incident, Walker said, "You said it. Said it best.''
Titans coach Mike Munchak said he talked with Walker briefly and said it won't distract the team.
"I think he handled himself I'm sure well in the whole matter,'' Munchak said. "That's not something we're concerned about.''