UPDATE: Aldon Smith was activated by the 49ers from the Non-Football Injury list
Aldon Smith has returned to team headquarters today. Whether he can play soon or even at all remains to be seen. He has his Nov 12 appearance for the 3 weapons charges he faces, as well as a Nov 19 court date for the DUI arrest that put him into rehab in the first place. Tell ya one thing. That must have been one hell of a party. He got stabbed, weapons were fired, and Smith ends up getting arrested for assault weapons charges.
Not sure how the fact that the cops invited Smith to go to a shooting range plays into this, but it can’t help the prosecution’s case very much. I’m sure that the weapons charges will get pled down to misdemeanors, but the DUI thing still has to be dealt with. Although the ‘good faith’ deal of Smith going to rehab and thus missing 5 games also plays into the league’s reaction. I suppose the next couple weeks of his being with the team and how he addresses these things in public will play their role as well. Act contrite and talk about changing your life, and that works with Goodie Goodell’s perception-is-everything idea of cleaning up his league. Act like a stupid punk going forwardand pay the price. I don’t think he, or the team, is that dense though. He will likely be in lockdown mode as the team has assured him that one more wrong move and he’ll be tossed from the team. if not the league.
That’s all well and good. I sincerely hope he gets his shit together and stays with the team, as he is a once-in-a-generation talent, and seems to be a nice kid, if not caught up in a bunch of shit. The party seemed to bring some nasty shit to the forefront for him, but the DUI stuff has dogged him for a while now. Is it simply the exuberance of youth? Too much too soon for a young man? A thug escaping the hood? Truth be told no one knows but Aldon and his family. When he was drafted, I didn’t hear anything regarding red flags or behavior issues around him, but then again, I hadn’t heard of him at all until the Niners drafted him.
The unspoken elephant in the room regarding him (and a few other mercurial talents that get in trouble) is that HE doesn’t really have to do much to get right back into the league with an enormous contract under his belt, provided he doesn’t kill himself or someone else. Whether he is suspended for all of this year and next, cut from the Niners and even does some jail time, teams will line up to sign him after he has faced his obligations, whatever they may be. The league is filled with guys who have faced many differing charges and have come back. Pacman Jones being the most glaring example. He was on probation when drafted for a bar fight, and arrested for vandalizing a nightclub in Nashville before ever playing a down in the NFL. Then there was the public drunkenness arrest, and the infamous ‘making it rain’ beating of a stripper and subsequent gunplay. He served time, was suspended for a year, and generally kept screwing up for years. Even after the shooting incident, he was involved in other shootings and general unruliness. He’s currently playing very well for the Bengals on a 3 year deal.
The point? Well, Aldon still holds all the chips in his future. If he gets his shit together, he can reap tons of money and gain possible HOF status if he keeps rolling the way he has played. Keep screwing up and he still will likely play for a lot of money, if not go through the machinations of jail, suspensions, fines, and other bullshit. Like I said, I hope he straightens himself out before he kills himself or someone else, or simply pisses his career away.