The San Francisco 49ers are unsure when All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith will return from rehab, and it may not be this season.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the 49ers are not counting on Smith to return this season. Smith is currently on indefinite leave from the team after his DUI arrest last month.
He is also in the midst of legal trouble. Smith was charged with three counts of possession of assault weapons last week that relate to an incident in 2012 at a house party that Smith hosted that spiraled out of control, when Smith was stabbed and two others were shot.
According to Schefter, the 49ers believe Smith’s issues “run deep, and that the Pro Bowler has plenty of work to do on turning around his life before anyone can think about him returning to the football field.”
Even when he does return, the 49ers will need to be extra with Smith and hope he doesn’t get in any more trouble. He is likely to face a suspension from the NFL for the DUI arrest.
It is obvious that the talented linebacker needs help to avoid these issues in the future. He has been involved in several run-ins with the law already, and being caught for his second DUI in less than a year was probably the last straw.
His teammates will probably try to mentor him and put him in the right mindset.
As one team official told Gil Brandt of NFL.com, “I think the players see that now they have to be his family more than being a buddy.”