San Francisco 49ers star pass rusher Aldon Smith is facing three counts of felony weapons charges and is in rehab following an incident in which he was arrested for DUI and possession of marijuana. It has certainly be an eventful season for Smith, and the San Francisco 49ers were mum on giving a timetable for his return. Before the crazy incident on Smith’s property was brought to light, Smith was expected to miss around five weeks due to rehab. Now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the 49ers “are not counting on” Aldon Smith coming back to the team this year.
It’s a big blow to the 49ers pass rush for the remainder of the season, but it’s nothing they didn’t expect anyway. Smith is clearly troubled, and his future remains murky due to the rehab from alcohol abuse and the felony weapons charges. The latter is more concerning in the short-term at this point, and we’ll see if Aldon Smith is able to beat the odds and return to the 49ers this year. That sounds extremely doubtful at this point with Schefter’s report in mind.
Smith’s absence is something that the San Francisco 49ers will be able to survive, because they have so many great players on defense. However, he is clearly their best edge rusher, and losing a dynamic player like Smith is always a sizeable blow for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The offense will need to step up in the long run, but it’s difficult to get an accurate gauge on just how good the 49ers are with Michael Crabtree still on the shelf. Let’s hope that Aldon Smith can get offer his off-the-field issues and get on the straight and narrow once he is able to return (regardless of if it’s after the conclusion of this season).