<
>

Baalke offers early camp thoughts

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke had a somewhat rare chat with the media on Saturday evening after the 49ers’ third training camp practice. Here are some of the highlights:

• Baalke is hopeful linebackers Aldon Smith and the 49ers will get some clarity soon from the NFL on if he will be suspended for off-field issues. Smith will soon fly to New York to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. There is no set date and the 49ers will not have a representative at the meeting, Baalke said.

He said by researching recent history, he’d anticipate a fairly quick decision once Smith meets with Goodell. Baalke said team owner Jed York has talked to Goodell about Smith’s issues.

• Predictably, Baalke wouldn’t shed any light or thoughts on the Alex Boone holdout. The right guard has been away from the team all year because he is looking for a new contract.

• Baalke said the 49ers are interested in re-signing both receiver Michael Crabtree and guard Mike Iupati. Both players are entering the final season of their contracts. Baalke didn’t give a timeline. He also said the team would like tight end Vernon Davis to retire as a 49er. Davis, 30, held out of the mandatory minicamp. Baalke gave no indication if the 49ers have plans to re-sign Davis.

• Baalke said running back Marcus Lattimore has not had a setback and that he is close to joining practice. Lattimore, a fourth-round pick last year, last played in 2012 when he suffered a horrific knee injury as a player at South Carolina. Baalke said players need to be mentally ready to practice as much a physically prepared when they returned from major injuries. Baalke wouldn’t rule out Lattimore of being on the Week 1 53-man roster.

• Baalke praised the work inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is doing in his return from a torn ACL he suffered in January.

• Baalke said the team would like to re-sign running back Kendall Hunter for the 2015 season. Hunter tore his ACL in practice Friday. His contract expires after this season. He is an organization favorite.

• Baalke said the 49ers have four or five open roster spots and he expects a major battle for those spots in the next month.

• Baalke had high praise for many players, including the team’s top two draft picks – defensive back Jimmie Ward and running back Carlos Hyde. Both have been early standouts.