The San Francisco 49ers activated linebacker Aldon Smith to the 53-man roster from the NFI list after missing the last five regular season games. Smith, who had been in rehab for alcohol abuse, turned himself in to authorities earlier in the week over pending weapons and DUI charges, and posted $75,000 bail. Given these serious legal problems and the possibility of a suspension by the NFL, whether Smith will be able to play in the 49ers’ next game against the Carolina Panthers is in question.
If he does play against the Panthers on November 10th, he will have his hands full that week as he faces a November 12th arraignment on felony weapons charges, followed by a second arraignment on November 19th for a misdemeanor DUI charge. Smith’s troubles began with a house party he hosted in June of 2012. At that party, Smith reportedly fired a .45 caliber handgun in the air several times. An attendee at the party was seen carrying around a rifle that had been kept in Smith’s bedroom.
Sheriff’s deputies initially found two rifles in Smith’s bedroom and later found three more, including two assault rifles. Also, a large amount of spent and unspent ammunition was found on the bedroom floor and in Smith’s bedside table. None of the weapons were registered. Of the five, three were determined to be illegal. Smith reportedly purchased them in Arizona where they are legal but they cannot be bought or possessed in California.
Smith’s DUI arrest came in September 2013, his second DUI in two years. A resident in the neighborhood saw Smith back up his truck, speed, and smash into a tree next to that resident’s driveway. Smith reportedly had a .15 blood alcohol level and slurred speech. Police also reportedly found two pills in envelopes in Smith’s car as well as a pipe which was confiscated. In addition, the vehicle, a Silverado, bore license plates registered to a different car owned by Smith. The Silverado’s own registration had expired.
Despite the arrest, Smith was allowed to play in the 49ers’ subsequent game against the Indianapolis Colts, with no immediate punishment doled out by the team. This handling of the issue by the team raised a few eyebrows. The 49ers have said that Smith’s punishment is a league issue. The league typically waits to decide on punishments until any legal situation is resolved. In Smith’s case, that could take awhile. Thus, Smith may be free to put on a 49ers’ jersey again soon.
Sara DeBord is an NFL writer for www.footballandfutbol.com and www.baysportsreport.com.