LONDON – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might have provided the most meaningful 49ers development of the weekend with his remarks about outside linebacker Aldon Smith.
On Saturday, Goodell said Smith’s decision to voluntarily enter a treatment facility for substance abuse will factor into the NFL’s decision on discipline Smith will face. Smith faces charges for DUI and possession of illegal firearms.
“The issue here is not to discipline players," Goodell said when CSNBayArea.com asked him about Smith's situation. "The issue here is to stop the behavior. And Aldon, to your point, has voluntarily said, ‘I need help.’ We are obviously there to support him, and the 49ers did a great job getting him into a facility to try to get that help. And so we all support that.
“So, yes, it will be factor, for sure.”
The 49ers are continuing to pay Smith his full weekly salary of $98,978 during his time away from the team. He has missed five games -- all 49ers victories. It is not known whether he will still face any kind of reduced suspension from the NFL, but he is expected to incur a fine of at least two weeks’ salary, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
The 49ers expect to meet with Smith in the near future. And 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Smith will be reinstated to the 53-man roster if he shows “progress.”
Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about Goodell’s comments following the 49ers’ 42-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. He said it’s important to not look too far into the future when dealing with such a delicate matter.
“The thing I think is prudent is just a one-day-at-a-time approach,” Harbaugh said. “I think if we start talking about what’s going to happen a week, two weeks, a month, down the road is not the best approach. Having a great day, that’s the kind of thing that’s the best course of action.”