Posted September 23, 2013

Aldon Smith takes indefinite leave from 49ers after playing against the Colts

NFC West, San Francisco 49ers

This may be the last you see of Aldon Smith you see on the field for a while.

This may be the last you see of Aldon Smith on the field for a while. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith started for the team and played against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, which confused a lot of people who wondered why Smith was on the field at all. On Friday morning, Smith was arrested for suspicion of DUI after crashing into a tree and registering a .15 blood alcohol level. It was his second DUI arrest in less than two years, and head coach Jim Harbaugh took a lot of heat when he said later Friday that Smith would play.

It appears, however, that whatever strategy the 49ers were using before has changed. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported after the Colts’ 27-7 win that Smith’s locker at Candlestick Park was empty, and that his was the only empty locker in the area. Then, team CEO Jed York announced that Smith would not play next Thursday against the St. Louis Rams, and Maiocco followed up with the news that there was no timetable for Smith’s return. The team placed him on the non-football injury list Monday afternoon.

After the game, Smith addressed the media: “I want to apologize. I will work to get it fixed.”

York was far more expressive in his postgame statement.

“We support Aldon and Aldon’s willing to fight for himself and try to make this right,” York said. “And I will stand here and I will take any shots that anybody wants to write [about] the organization, you can direct them to me and I will support Aldon as long as he’s willing to work at this and fight to get better.”

York said that it was the decision of Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke to let Smith play in this game, but “[t]hey obviously talked to me about it. And I think again under the circumstances, knowing what Aldon wants to do, I think this was the best thing for Aldon.

“There’s no right answer here. We’re very fortunate that nobody got hurt, Aldon included, and anybody else.”

When asked if Smith was going to seek treatment for substance abuse issues, as has been widely speculated, York was a bit more circumspect.

“That’s Aldon’s personal issue. We’re going to support him. I believe Aldon wants to tackle this problem and we’re going to do everything that we can to help him.”

Per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, York said something interesting about the way in which this was handled from a financial perspective.

“Our opinion was sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to seek treatment in the future, that didn’t seem like an appropriate punishment. I know it might not sound reasonable. But for Aldon to be able to face the media, face his teammates, and take full responsibility for what he’s doing, we felt that was the best situation for Aldon himself and for the team and ultimately the community at large.

“And I realize people might not agree with that decision. But that was the decision that we felt was best.”

According to former NFL team executive Andrew Brandt, “If Smith is placed on reserve/NFI (non-football injury), it is up to the 49ers whether to pay him zero, his salary or something in between.”

Smith has a base salary of $1.68 million this season.

47 comments
Darren1
Darren1

The NFL has a program in place in which an incapacitated player can call for a ride, no questions asked. Josh Brent didn't do it and the result was the death of his teammate Jerry Brown and the end of his career. Guys: Just make the call.

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

Every time I read one of these stories I get feeling from the author that the player killed some people.


As a recently retired state trooper, you should be a heck of a lot more afraid of the soccer mom or the middle manager driving through your neighborhood with their smart phone.  Unpopular yet true.  Alcohol slows your reaction time.  Smartphones take away 100% of your attention for quick timeslices.  Just talking on the telephone takes away a good piece of your attention.


</rant>

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

Pay one of your homies 50k a year to drive you everywhere and to be willing to give you clean urine 24/7

Thats it!  Thats all you have to do!  

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

I hope Smith gets it together before he destroys himself. Many athletes (and others) do not. If his comment is sincere, and he realizes that he has a serious problem, then that is the first step. It's not funny when men throw away their gifts and trash their own lives. It is their own choice, but that doesn't mean we should dismiss them completely. I want to see him straighten out.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Just alcohol, no biggie. Let the man have a few cold ones.

Charles58
Charles58

Playing Aldon Smith is the ultimate in hypocrisy, which for an organization as hypocritical as the NFL is saying something. The NFL projects itself and its players as role models for youth, representing the positive benefits of teamwork, discipline, work ethic, and motherhood and apple pie. To let Alden Smith play after his second DUI in 20 months reflects the real value system in the NFL: winning and revenue above all else. The fact that SF lost is not just appropriate, it is karma for making the wrong decision, the unethical decision. Jim Harbaugh is starting to show is real self, and it is not pretty.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

And suddenly...when/if they start winning again, all you fair-weather fans will get whiplash jumping back on the bandwagon. That amuses me....

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

Get some help dude...

Call a cab or hire a town car for a night of partying. You can probably afford it...

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Funny how the not so important player got left at home and didn't play when he got a DUI last year.  Hypocrites. 

Their QB sucks, their defense sucks, their oline sucks, their head coach sucks.  What a joke.  Every team that lost to them last year should be embarrassed for being fooled by stupid trickery.  None of that crap is working this year.  

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

He never should've been allowed to suit up.  We need to start treating people who get caught drunk driving like they ALREADY DID kill someone doing so because that must be the only deterrent to them continuing this dangerous behavior.  Every person that drives drunk is lucky if don't kill themselves or someone else. 


Joebuckster
Joebuckster

HaHa. Kaeperdick sucks, and so does the Niner's D. Two blowouts in a row. Guess who's 3-0 and busting a gut in KC???

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

Why A. Smith played today is beyond belief. Bad message to the team. Bad message to the league. Bad message to all NFL fans. A disgrace.mi am thrilled that the 49ers lost!

JPG
JPG

Mr. Smith,  now get the hell out of here.  Anyone here would  still be in jail.  You are an embarrassment to professional sports.

Mr. Jim Harbaugh - shame on you for playing this fool. You are still a hypocrite and have have degraded the NFL.

Darren1
Darren1

@NebojsaTodorovic See my post above. Some people DO die in these accidents. Also, "as a recently retired state trooper, you..." I'm not a retired state trooper. "As a recently retired state trooper, I can tell you that you ... "

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 Unless you feel, and maintain, that any player arrested (not convicted) for a DUI should immediately be suspended, then you are the hypocrite. This is a complex legal issue, beyond the team dynamics, and an organization would be foolish to make a kneejerk reaction. To gather the right people, discuss it and take action is the proper and ethical thing to do. This is about a young man's life and all you are talking about is the NFL and bashing Jim Harbaugh. It is clear that you care nothing about the individual involved. You have no ethical high ground.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@btcvsolo Pretty sure everyone here is LAUGHING at the Niners because they are a joke and we were never on the stupid bandwagon to begin with.  

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@btcvsolo They don't even have to pay for it.  In all the NFL cities, the NFL has an arrangement with a limo service where any player can call them at any time of the day and get a FREE ride anywhere they want.  

gymviking
gymviking

@randomdeletion You are a bitter and angry person that is haunted by your personal failures. It gives me great joy to think of your tears when the 49ers are in the playoffs again. Enjoy taking advantage of someone's substance abuse to go on your feeble rant.

MikeKing
MikeKing

@randomdeletion The first party is correct.  The second part is just stupid.  They are a very good team, just struggling at the moment.  

RSpreier
RSpreier

@randomdeletion 

that is just stupid. They have great players and I think it's great that they are supporting Aldon Smith.

modsuperstar
modsuperstar

@Joebuckster Who would you like Kaepernick to throw it to? Crabtree, Davis, James and Manningham are all injured. Other teams know that Boldin is the only threat, so he gets double teamed. Who's left? Kyle WIlliams who can't seem to catch a ball to save his life. Bruce Miller, the fullback with hands of stone. Gore can catch, but he's usually the last resort before Miller. This team needs to get healthy and fast. 

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@pamperofirpo The message was this: play the drunk so the media storm will overshadow the axx-kicking the 9ers got at the hands of the... Colts?? BWAHAHAHAHA!!

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58 How am I hypocritical? Do you even know what that means? This is not a complex legal issue and don't use the "innocent until proven guilty" argument, that is weak. He blew a .15 blood alcohol content - he broke the law without question. The fact that he did it at 7:00am on a weekday means the tree he hit could have been a kid walking to school. The ethical thing to do, and the compassionate thing to do would have been to sit Smith and get him into rehab. Playing him is both unethical and hypocritical. Someone in a real world job would likely have been fired over this, so don't get all sanctimonious about this being about a young man's life. That is not what was going through Harbaugh's mind when he decided to play him. Winning the game and trying to turn around his team and saving his reputation as a winning coach was all that was on his mind.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@gymviking @randomdeletion LOL.... just because I call the Harbaugh led Niners out I am bitter and angry?  LOL

I have zero respect for Jim Harbaugh.  Period.  That is all there is to it, has nothing to do with bitterness or anger.  

He is a classless individual that screwed a vet and I thought that was a disgusting move to make.  They played gimmick ball and now it isn't working.  His rah rah "whose got it better than us" ridiculousness is COLLEGE type of stuff and is not going to work with adults, especially when adversity hits.  Well here is the adversity.  The team CRUMBLED.  It was not even close.  They were dominated two weeks in a row.  

Look at all the most highly successful coaches in the long history of the NFL.  NONE of them have EVER been a rah rah, stupid chant, hyper, whiney freak out coach.  NONE OF THEM.  

They are all adult, stoic, cerebral and leaders of men.  Even his own brother is more like the all time successful coaches.  Jim is a loud mouth punk.  

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@hewhofishes @randomdeletion About 20 friends of mine come over every Sunday for my weekly football party at my house.  How many come to your house to watch football with you?  I speak the truth, so yes, hearing the truth about reality can suck, but it is not a reason to not hang out with me.  Of course none of my friends are Niner fans and pretty much all of them think Harbaugh is a joke and he lost any respect any of them could have had for him by screwing his starting qb for a flash in the pan punk kid.  

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MikeKing @randomdeletion Delusion is a wonderful think isn't it?  Denial along with delusion makes everything better when you are able to think of reality as something it obviously isn't, huh?  

How does a good team get totally destroyed two weeks in a row?  Hmmm?  Losing close games and being 1-2 is one thing, getting dominated and appearing to not even deserve to be on the field against the competition is another.  Having a joke of a qb that appears to be the worst in the NFL does not make a team a good team, either.  

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@KerryDavis @randomdeletion I know.  If I was a Niner fan that is exactly how it would seem because the truth truly SUCKS to Niner fans right now.  Alex Smith is 3-0 with ZERO turnovers and the idiot Harbawl thought was the answer is being exposed as a one trick pony that is NOT a true legit pocket QB and he is turnover prone.  Krapernick can not handle adversity, he even worked on his speed running in the off season because the moron thought he was always going to have wide open field to run in.  Thank god I am not a Niner fan because watching this train wreck would SUCK.  

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@modsuperstar @Joebuckster Funny, Tom Brady is 3-0 without his favorite targets (or any to speak of), and he can't run 2 feet without tripping over his own. And Alex Smith has only Dwayne Bowe, who is overrated, yet he's 3-0. Harbaugh screwed up, and I'm laughing my butt off. I'll laugh even harder when he has his well earned/deserved aneurysm.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

@modsuperstar @Joebuckster quit the excuses, Now other teams have figured kaepernick and the 49ers offense, unless the HC crys to the NFL about his QB getting hit and its too loud like in the Seahawk's game

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@modsuperstar @Joebuckster I guess you fail to notice that when things are just rolling and there is some good defense and adversity in a game, Kraper is very very inaccurate.  He can't even throw it on target to wide open receivers.  He frankly SUCKS.  HE is a front runner, he does not have the meddle to get the job done unless everything is easy.  

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58Can't believe I am actually replying to you but I can't help it. Unless you can top a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School, I am going to claim intellectual superiority over you. My line of reasoning was consistent and linear, and the crux of your criticism was misinterpreting my first post which postulated that the NFL and the 49ers were hypocrites based on their false concern over Aldon Smith, which caused you to suggest that I was hypocritical, which you had no evidence to support, and which was completely irrelevant to my initial comment. Debating you is like Duane Johnson arm wrestling Justin Bieber, and I take great pleasure in mentally b*tch slapping you one last time.

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 @gymvikingMeh, so I made a spelling mistake. You made numerous errors in fact throughout your posts and eventually couldn't even put up a cogent discussion to defend them. Another error, I didn't claim to be smart, just much smarter than you. I was trying to help you not embarrass yourself.

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58  You're right, you really are smart, obviously I have underestimated your towering intellect. Oh, I think you meant "there" as opposed to "their."

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 @gymviking Bwawahahaha. go back and read the first line of my first post, great waster of time, I said you are hypocritical UNLESS you believe that all players should be suspended for a DUI arrest. It took you a long time to get around to what I said in that first sentence. Oh, well.you have my pity, but no more of my time.

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 @gymviking Ha...it is like picking on a small child. I am not a hypocrite, nor have you intelligently stated why I might be. I did not make any statements that I care about the welfare of players. My statement was that you didn't while holding yourself up as the ethics expert. And if alcoholism is considered a disease, as many believe, then their could be many federal and state laws that should be considered before any action is taken.

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58 I do care about DUI arrests, whether it is an ordinary person, an athlete or a celebrity, and I believe punishment should be agnostic to the perpetrator's status. That is called consistent. That is different from hypcritical. Different - that means not the same as. I will try to use smaller words so that your neanderthal brain can keep up and try to comprehend. Your though process, writing and communication skills, and apparent maturity level would make a 1st grader in a sandbox proud.

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 @gymviking Yes, such as pretending to care about DUI arrests, but only as it applies to this player for this team. That would be you and that would be what I said in my first post, which you were unable to comprehend and respond to. No, you could not school me on anything.

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58 And to be direct, I do not care about Aldon Smith as a person. He is a thug who has been given the opportunity for success in life and is squandering it because he has no self control or respect for others in society. He has not earned my respect or concern. And to reiterate, it is not a complex issue to decide whether or not to play him. You are making a simple moral decision unnecessarily complex by bring in matters of the league, the CBA, etc. Those entities need to decide on whatever long term solution is put in place, but the team has the right to sit a player that does not meet it's standards of conduct. Jed York made that decision immediately after the game based on the negative feedback the team was getting. You are a hypocrite and not terribly bright to boot.

Charles58
Charles58

@gymviking @Charles58 I'm pretty sure I could school you on an intelligence basis, but that is a waste of time and impossible to validate on a discussion board. You don't know what hypocrite means. It mean insincere, fraudulent, or pretending to have beliefs that one does not actually have. Sort of like pretending to care about a person when all you really care about is the team winning. Get it? Probably not because you are an obstreperous moron. 

gymviking
gymviking

@Charles58 @gymviking Actually, I can tell by your post that you are not even bright enough to be in this conversation with me. It is hypocritical to apply a rule in one place, because it suits your purpose, and not in the same situation elsewhere, which I am openly saying that you are doing (in case you had trouble with the big words there). And you are still not saying anything about the player's wellfare, which at least honestly let's me know that your main concern is bashing the organization. Not a complex issue? Dealing with the league, the collective bargaining agreement, contracts, attorneys, an investigation, and discussion with the player himself? The issue is complex, your thought pattern is simplicity itself.