SANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Aldon Smith slammed into a blocking sled Friday with the force and flair that accompanied his 14-sack rookie season.
A month ago, the 49ers likely envisioned that for their first training camp practice.
But in the early hours of June 30, Smith got stabbed at a party at his house in the East San Jose foothills. The 49ers reported his wounds were minor, and sure enough, Smith shows no signs of injury.
"Letting everybody down was probably the saddest part," Smith said Friday in his first comments since the incident. "I'm back to 100 percent and I'm ready to go. ... I'm more focused than ever."
Smith looked that way during Friday's practice. He lined up with the first-string defense for its first 7-on-7 drill. That falls in line with the 49ers' projection of turning him into a first-time starter at outside linebacker.
All 87 players eligible to practice did so. That included unretired receiver Randy Moss, who caught with ease deep passes from Alex Smith, the first of which had Moss shout: "Way to go, Alex!"
The 49ers defense remarkably took the field with all of last season's starters, a unit that ranked second in fewest points allowed and first against the run in the NFL.
Aldon Smith didn't start as a rookie and instead thrived as a pass-rushing specialist. But he indeed looks poised to unseat Parys Haralson as the starting outside linebacker opposite Ahmad Brooks.
That promotion seemed in question after a turbulent offseason, one that started with Smith getting arrested in Miami Beach for driving under the influence. Smith qualified for a first-time offenders' program and drew a reduced charge of reckless driving, according to the Sacramento Bee.
"I just feel after the incidents that happened, and the expectations that were set for me, I feel like I let the fans -- and everybody that looked at me like that -- down," Smith, 22, said.
Smith's stab wounds -- reportedly to his upper body -- were stapled shut. He said he required no further medical treatment and is cooperating with a police investigation that still hasn't identified his assailant.
Smith acknowledged he needs to make better decisions in life and surround himself with "good people."
The 49ers, Smith said, supported him throughout his ordeals. Coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed he spoke with Smith about those off-field incidents, and both kept the conversation private.
"Aldon doesn't need to reread the same thing I told him quoted in your newspaper," Harbaugh said.
Moss is returning for a 14th NFL season after sitting out last year for apparently personal reasons, which he said he'll divulge in an autobiography in "10 to 15 years."
Echoing Harbaugh's mantras to improve daily and love the game of football, Moss downplayed his proximity to several milestones. He is 46 receptions shy of 1,000, 142 yards from reaching 15,000, and one touchdown reception from breaking a tie with Terrell Owens for second-most behind Jerry Rice.
"I'm really not an individual. I've never really been an individual," Moss said. "I just love the game of football. I love being in the locker room."
For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers.