Could the San Francisco 49ers already be finished with troubled linebacker Aldon Smith?
San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami, who is very plugged in with that franchise, says several sources within the organization have indicated to him Smith has not only lost the benefit of the doubt with the club but probably won’t play for the 49ers in 2014.
Smith was arrested and booked Sunday on suspicion of making a false bomb report during a dust-up at Los Angeles International Airport. That’s merely the latest transgression for a player who had DUI arrests in 2012 and 2013, and felony weapons charges relating to an incident at a party in 2012.
Smith, who turns 25 in September, is in the last year of his rookie contract and is due to make $2.3 million this season. There’s no questioning his value on the field, as he’s had 42 sacks in three seasons, including 8 1/2 last season when he played in just 11 games because of a stint in rehab. The 49ers have to decide by May 3 on their option to extend his contract through 2015.
Kawakami writes: “But there is a weariness and frustration over Smith’s behavior that I’ve never heard involving any recent 49ers player. Until this week.
And this is coming from people with the team who defended Smith full-tilt after his DUI arrest last September and emphasized back then that he voluntarily was seeking help, which was a clear sign that he was ready to address his problems.
“It’s a very, very different tone now. Starkly different.”