Just two days after 49ers star outside linebacker Aldon Smith’s latest brush with the law there are indications his career with the 49ers is in jeopardy.
Bay Area News Group columnist Tim Kawakami reported Tuesday he spoke to “several sources involved with the 49ers’ decision-making” and came away with the view that “Smith hasn’t only lost the benefit of the doubt, he probably won’t play for the 49ers in 2014.”
Kawakami reports this information comes from people with the team who defended Smith after his DUI arrest last September and were encouraged that Smith sought a voluntary leave of absence to enter into treatment for substance abuse during the season.
The 49ers’ primary decision-makers are CEO Jed York, general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh.
On our weekly 49ers chat on CSNBayArea.com, I was asked if I believed the 49ers would pick up the fifth-year option on Smith’s contract. I believed it was a simple decision because the $9.754 million salary for 2015 is guaranteed only for injury.
“You can still discipline the player, so I don’t see it as a big deal,” former NFL executive Bill Polian said Tuesday morning on 95.7 The Game when asked if he believes the 49ers will pick up the option. “The 49ers will make whatever decision they feel is appropriate for their organization.”
But the latest incident is likely to make the 49ers decline the option, according to Kawakami's report.
Smith was arrested Sunday on a felony charge of making a false report of a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport. Smith was released on $20,000 bail. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has yet to file formal charges.
The NFL told CSNBayArea.com that they were aware of the incident involving Smith but would not make any comment.
The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy states that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to impose discipline “on an enhanced and/or expedited basis” when it comes to repeat offenders.
The policy reads: “In such cases, the timing and nature of the discipline will be determined by the Commissioner based on several factors including, but not limited to: the severity of the initial charge and the later charge, the facts underlying the later charge; the length of time between the initial offense and later charge; and the player or employee’s compliance with counseling and other programs.”
The 49ers are not expected to release Smith, Kawakami reported. An NFL source tells CSNBayArea.com that Smith’s $2.336 million salary contract for the upcoming season is fully guaranteed. Kawakami added the 49ers will probably wait until the legal process runs its course and the NFL determines its punishment for Smith before taking any action.
Smith also faces three felony counts of possession of illegal assault rifles as well as a DUI charge. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 29.