The NFL on Friday announced that the San Francisco 49ers will be without Aldon Smith for the first nine games of the season. According to NFL.com, Smith will return to the team in Week 11 to face off against the New York Giants.
The suspension is broken down to four games for violating the substance abuse policy and five games for breaking the conduct policy. Aldon Smith will be allowed to be around the facility during the entirety of the suspension. This is the first time that anybody has been allowed to stay around during their suspension.
A day after Roger Goodell instituted extremely harsh penalties for violent offenders in the NFL, he laid the wood to Smith and the 49ers, one week before the season is to commence. After a DUI arrest halfway through the 2013 season, Smith decided it was time to check himself into a treatment center. Aldon Smith missed five games in the heart of the season, but San Francisco 49ers were (5-0) in those games.
However, the alcohol related incident was not the only thing the NFL had to go on. So far. Smith has three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor DUI charges. In 2012, Aldon Smith was accused of firing his weapon during a party at his home. Unfortunately, he was also stabbed during that incident.
Although, he is only 24 years old, Smith quickly became one of the most dominant pass rushers in the NFL. Before last season commenced, Aldon Smith was talking about breaking the sacks record and maybe surpassing 30 sacks in a single season.
Since that moment, Smith has already missed five games, and with this suspension, he’ll lose another nine games. That’s effectively an entire season missed due to off the field transgressions.
Aldon Smith was the No.7 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Missouri and NFL.com notes that he was the fastest player to reach 30 sacks in a career. It took him 27 games to reach that feat. Now San Francisco has to game plan with Smith in the lineup.
San Francisco has a tough schedule and it starts off with a game at Dallas. In that span, they also play three teams from the 2013-2014 playoffs. The Eagles, Broncos, and Saints all made the playoffs, and the Broncos lost in the Super Bowl.
Aldon Smith will be back for both games against Seattle and the final game of the season against NFC West foe, Arizona. If he can make enough plays to get the 49ers into the playoffs, Aldon Smith could be the freshest player entering the postseason.