"The issue here is not to discipline players, the issue here is to stop the behavior," Commissioner Goodell said at a fan forum in London. "Aldon [Smith] 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. "It will be factor, for sure [because we support that]."
The 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said yesterday that he is optimistic about the OLB's chances of returning this season. For Smith to come back this year, he needs to show significant improvement from his off the field issues in September.
Smith was arrested in the early morning on Sept. 20 where he crashed his truck into a tree in a residential area of San Jose. This was two days before the 49ers hosted the Colts and he practiced later that day. Smith was on the field for played every defensive snap.
Not only has Smith faced two DUIs in the last two years, he also faces three felony gun possession charges coming from the violent incident at his house party in June 2012. Smith is expected to answer those charges soon and he could face a suspension from that issue. However, the NFL will probably wait until the case has been decided before taking any further action.
Smith was a Pro Bowl OLB and he led the team with 4.5 sacks when he left the 49ers after Week 3. He remains as the team leader in sacks heading into Week 8. The 49ers have a 4-0 record in the four games he has missed.