At least it is for Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck. The last time they were together, it was for the Jan 2011 Tostitos Bowl or something like that. Now? Indy is a little shakey from a near loss to the Raiders on opening day, and a loss to the not-so-lowly-anymore 2-0 Miami Dolphins. They got themselves in the news this week by trading next year’s 1st round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson, a guy they traded up in the 1st rouns to the #3 overall pick to get last year. In other words, a very cursious move as it smacks of giving up on this season for the Brownies. This after week 2. Lots of disgruntled fans by Lake Erie. The Niners got themselves into the news as well. But for much more awful reasons. Defensive standout Aldon Smith was busted trying to run over a tree at 7:00 am Friday morning. He was booked on DUI, pot possession, and possession of prescription meds of some kind. This is part of a pattern of brushes with the law, including a pleaded down DUI in Miami, being a passenger in a roll-over accident at the bewitching hour of 2:30 am, and his infamous house party where he got stabbed, and he allegedly shot at someone.
Youthful hijinks? Sure, you could say that, and there have been plenty of people who have had a few scrapes with the law only to go on and get their shit together and move on. On the other hand, life is riddled with talented individuals who can’t get out of their own way, and either hurt themselves or people around them. The 49ers meanwhile have chose the path of least resistance. Jim Harbaugh has said that Smith will suit up and play today. Curious, as when Demarcus Dobbs was busted for pot last year, the team left him at home for a road game. They suspended Brandon Jacobs for the last 4 games of the season for posting pics of himself in his Giants uni.
What’s the difference between Dobbs, Jacobs, and Smith? Well, Smith is an MVP-worthy talent. The others? Not so much. The 49ers can choose to be proactive regarding this, and leave him off the roster today. Or they can put Smith above his teammates, and start him. The point being, regardless of his status as an elite player, the front office and the coaches need to remind Aldon that playing football is a privilege. Yes, it is a privilege he has earned the right to play, but recent events tell another story. Taken separately, one of these screw-ups isn’t a major deal. But throw them together and you have a pattern of behavior that is troubling at best. Self-destructive at worst.
Yes, the 49ers desperately want to erase the taste of that Seattle beat-down. and yes, this is the NFL, where wins are a hard-fought commodity that takes a team effort to earn. But the team needs to show Aldon that there are consequences for screwing up, and he has to take a look at his actions as ones that are causing harm to himself and those close to him, andf that he isn’t bigger than the team. Otherwise, letting him start shows the rest of the team that as long as you are a great player, you don;t have to follow the rules that the rest of the guys must.