According to a report, the San Francisco 49ers support for troubled linebacker Aldon Smith may be waning in the wake of his most recent arrest.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported that decision makers for the 49ers are no longer willing to give Smith the benefit of the doubt and that he likely won’t play for the team next season.
Smith was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport on charges of making a false report of a bomb threat. Per NFL.com:
At approximately 1400 hours, a 24-year-old Aldon Jacarus Ramon Smith, a resident of San Jose, California, was going through Terminal 1 screening where he made a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb. Los Angeles Airport Police made contact with him in the gate area where he became uncooperative. After conducting their investigation, LA Airport Police took suspect into custory and transported him to LAPD-Pacific division where he was booked for California Penal Code 148.1(a)—False report of a bomb threat.
Smith was released on $20,000 bail Sunday night.
This is, of course, the same Aldon Smith who is scheduled to appear in a Santa Clara County court room on April 29 as part of his ongoing legal proceedings on charges of DUI and marijuana possession (last September) and illegal weapons possession (June 2012).
Kawakami reported that the 49ers will hold off making any decisions regarding Smith’s immediate future with the club; he still faces likely punishment from the NFL for the incident at LAX as well as whatever eventually is handed down to him by the courts on the ever-growing rap sheet.
The team defended Smith after his DUI arrest in September and hailed him for voluntarily seeking help at a rehabilitation center.
But Kawakami reports that owner Jed York, general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh are singing a very different tune—embarrassed and angry and, particularly in Smith’s case, tired of the act.
The 49ers are facing a May 3 deadline to pick up Smith’s option for 2015, worth $9.75 million, and Kawakami’s sources told him that the team is “very unlikely” to exercise that option.
The problem with Smith is a pattern of behavior, and Kawakami’s report referenced incidents that haven’t been headline news but that occurred before and after last year’s DUI arrest, and by the sounds of things, the organization’s patience has worn out.
Smith isn’t the only player with problems this offseason. Cornerback Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to charges of hit-and-run in connection with an alleged incident involving a bicyclist earlier this month and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is linked to an investigation into a “suspicious incident” in Miami.
But if the team’s patience has worn thin with Smith, there’s really only one person to blame for it.