BY Art Thiel 06:51PM 04/14/2014

49ers LB Aldon Smith piling up dubious numbers

The off-season for the San Francisco 49ers has been just about as much fun as their final game of the 2013 season.

Oft-troubled LB Aldon Smith, the first player drafted by Jim Harbaugh as Niners coach, apparently did something of breathtaking foolishness — telling Los Angeles International airport employees he had a bomb, while being “belligerent and uncooperative” to TSA agents  — and was arrested Sunday on a charge of making a false threat.

When available, Smith has been a formidable adversary for the Seahawks. In the first meeting in the past season, Smith had six tackles, four for loss including two sacks, in Seattle’s 29-3 win. In the regular season rematch, he had just a single tackle in the 49ers’ 19-17 win at Candlestick Park. In the NFC title game, he had four tackles, including two sacks and recovered a fumble.

But according to the San Jose Mercury News, his availability in 2014 is in some jeopardy. Smith has two “open” cases in separate run-ins with the law that may impact how the latest episode is seen by a court.

In September, Santa Clara County prosecutors debated whether to charge Smith with illegal possession of three assault rifles, which were discovered in 2012 after gang members crashed a party at his house, stabbing him and shooting other guests. Smith was considered a victim, putting prosecutors in a quandary about whether to charge him.

But while Smith was waiting to hear his fate on the gun charges, he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, compromising his ability to avoid prosecution for the guns.

Prosecutors can’t call the LAX episdoe a “prior” since it came after the first two episodes. But legal experts consulted by the Mercury suggested prosecutors may be reluctant to offer him a plea deal that would reduce charges or lighten a sentence, increasing the chances for jail time. Smith might be seen as more incorrigible.

Punishment for the gun charges range from probation up to four years in jail. The DUI charge is compounded by a prior DUI arrest in Florida, plus the fact that his blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit and he was involved in a collision with a tree.

The false bomb threat could be booked as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

However the charges pan out, the latest episode brought further scrutiny to Harbaugh’s comments last summer when he lightly mocked the Seahawks for being busted by the NFL for performance enhancing drugs, chiefly Adderall and marijuana.

“We want to be above reproach in everything and do everything by the rules,” Harbaugh said at the time. Smith missed five games last season after going into rehab following the DUI arrest, but played in one between arrest and the rehab stint, drawing some criticism of Harbaugh.

Smith is sufficiently talented that the 49ers are unlikely to make any move to suspend him before charges are known on all three episodes. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is free to weigh in within the limits of the collective bargaining agreement with the players union.

 


YourThoughts

  • Andrew12thStrong

    This guy is a menace to society and doesn’t seem to learn his lesson on how to stay out of trouble. How many crimes will he commit before the NFL gives him some discipline?

    Harbaugh wants to talk about the Seahawks not playing by the rules, but he should really get his own house in order before he criticizes other teams. What a whiny hypocrite. What’s actually worse in society, people who break actual laws that put others in danger or breaking rules your employer puts in place (marijuana is legal here in WA and addorell is legal with a prescription). I’m not saying I support them cheating or want them to cheat, but you can’t seriously make a statement like Harbaugh did and have an Aldon Smith on your own team.

    I could be wrong but I think 40whiners are leading the NFL this off-season with the most players in the news for run ins with the law, current and past stuff going to court. Besides Smith and his bomb, we have Culliver’s hit and run, Kaepernick in Miami with the girl and the bong, along with Patton in Miami as well. 4 players but these kind of stories show up on espn pretty quick and I haven’t seen another team with have stories like this about 4 or more players.

    • art thiel

      Harbaugh didn’t say “bomb” in an airport. But his “above reproach” remark was almost as dumb, and it blew up on him.

  • jafabian

    I think at the very least an extended suspension is warranted. Claiming a bomb in a time when terrorism is very real isn’t something to be taken lightly. Goodell needs to set the standard on this so players get the message.

    • art thiel

      “Dumb” doesn’t quite do justice to Smith’s airport remark. I expect even Goodell understands the point.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    If Goodell does weigh in he will find the scales heavily tipped in the “Aldon go stand in the corner ” side.Coach has egg on his cheek for sure in his verbal comments pertaining to the bad boy Seahawks image and his(supposedly superior) choir boys. I think Harbaugh’s Khakis were too tight the day he put his foot in his mouth and issued the we expect our 49ers to walk on water statement. What a self inflicted gunshot wound to the big toe that one turned out to be. We will take our Smith (SuperBowl 48MVP) over your Smith any day Jimmie. Good Luck with that one.