Santa Clara, CA – It did’t take long for the Forty-Niners to make a decision that surprised many. Less than 24 hours after Aldon Smith was arrested Thursday night, the 49ers released the Linebacker making him a free agent. The breaking news flooded the internet and social media early this morning about Smith’s arrest. San Francisco made it quick and simple, releasing this statement below followed by a heart felt press conference from head coach Jim Tomsula all before 12 noon.
“This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues. Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue.”
Smith no stranger to breaking the law has found himself in trouble since 2012. He was charged with three felony weapons counts from a party he held at his house that year. The following year Smith was arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession in September. Per suggestion of the team, he took some time off and checked into a treatment facility for substance abuse. Smith was back by week 10.
So, imagine the shock during the off-season when Smith was arrested again at Los Angeles International Airport for falsely reporting he had a bomb. It was reported, Smith became belligerent and uncooperative with TSA and the check-in process, indicating he had a bomb before heading to his gate area. That led to his nine-game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2014. By week 11 Smith returned vowing to stay out of trouble for good.
His first year in the NFL, he earned Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week in the first month. By October he was named NFL Rookie of the Month with 13 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Smith became the first player since Patrick Willis to earn such an honor as a rookie. He finished the season with 37 tackles, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles and 14 sacks. Smith was a half a sack away from tying all-time rookie sack record held by Jevon Kearse. He was just getting started.
After not staring one game during his rookie season, Smith became a favorite and regular starter. In 2013, he set a Monday Night Football record by recording 5.5. sacks in one game against the Chicago Bears. The following week, Smith surpassed Hall of Fame and former NFL great Reggie White as the fastest player in the league history to record his 30th sack in 27 games. He tied Fred Dean’s franchise record of 17.5 sacks in one season. But today his antics cost him everything. Smith’s release from the 49ers came one week into training camp.
Despite the team’s off-season drama, Smith had a promising career in front of him. He wanted to start this year off right, hoping to obtain the “eye of the tiger” that wow’d so many in his first two seasons with the 49ers. But that’s all behind him now, Smith headed straight to the facility after being released from jail and met with General Manager Trent Baalke. It was reported by ESPN’s NFL Writer Jim Trotter that Smith didn’t take responsibility for his arrest which led to his release from the team.
“It’s a sad day. This day that doesn’t have anything to do with football,” said Tomsula. “Although he won’t be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he will be supported and helped and he will not have to walk this path alone. That comes from our ownership down. He will not have to walk this path alone.”
“I would like to say this, if one person out there reads this, and you’re struggling, get help. Go get it. You’re worth it. You’re worth it. There’s value in every human being. Get the help. You don’t have to walk alone. Find it, it’s there.”