Aldon Smith arrested again, 49ers freefall continues


This morning’s news that 49er defensive end Aldon Smith has been arrested again, this time for DUI, Hit & Run and Vandalism, is just another in a long series of body blows to the San Francisco 49er organization.  Between retirements, free agent defections, a forced coaching change and resulting awkward coaching search, it’s been a quick fall from grace for a team that appeared to be a perennial contender less than two seasons ago.

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For Smith, depending on the details of this morning’s incident, it will likely result in a long suspension, or perhaps even his release from the team.

This is a rapid fall from grace for what was one of the league’s fastest rising stars.  Smith broke out in a big way his rookie year of 2011 with 14 sacks on his way to winning Defensive Rookie Of The Year honors, all while being used primarily as a situational pass rush specialist. He followed that up with an even bigger year in 2012 as a full time player.

And then it all started to fall apart.  He was arrested multiple times for alcohol-related incidents, and the league suspended him for 9 games to start 2014. He didn’t seem to be the same player when he came back, but in an effort to show the 49ers how devoted he was to turning his life and career around, he agreed to restructure his contract, giving up nearly $10 million in guaranteed money in the process.  That move would make it much easier for the team to release him now with minimal salary cap ramifications.

Clearly, this is an individual in crisis.  Just 25 years old with world-class talent in a major sport, he has chosen time and time again to put his career at risk.  He may now be faced with the specter of trying to work out his problems without the support of an NFL organization.

In the meantime, can anyone remember a more disastrous offseason for an NFL team, ever?

After losing 4 of their top 7 yardage leaders on offense, and 5 of their top 7 tacklers to either free agency or retirement, the team can ill-afford to say goodbye to their best pass rusher. But they may have no choice.

Many Seahawk fans may be rejoicing today, reveling in the latest opportunity to mock the hated Team By The Bay. But honestly, it makes me sad.  Rivalries are a great thing in sports, and sometimes they take years to develop.  The Seattle-San Francisco rivalry had become one of the best in the NFL, an epic clash every time they played. At this point, the 49ers appear to be a shell of themselves.  They will hardly be recognizable when they host Seattle on October 22nd. This rivalry as we know it may have come to an end.

Update: The San Francisco 49ers have released Aldon Smith. 

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