Photo credit: @Newsweek
By: Ana Kieu
Remember when linebacker Aldon Smith was drafted seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers at the 2011 NFL Draft?
In his college years at the University of Missouri, he was considered to be just a three-star recruit, but was somehow considered to be the fifth overall prospect in the state of Missouri. In his freshman year in 2009, he started 11 of 13 games, finishing the season with 60 tackles and 11 sacks. In his sophomore year in 2010, he played in nine games, recording 48 tackles and six sacks. He forwent his final two years of college eligibility.
In 2011, Smith made his NFL debut in the 49ers’ game against the Seahawks. Despite not starting a single season his rookie year, he was only a half sack shy of tying the all-time rookie sack record held by defensive end Jevon Kearse. The Pro Football Writers of America named him Defensive Rookie of the Year. As for the Associated Press‘ NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, he finished in second place, trailing just linebacker Von Miller.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Smith became a full-time starter. In Super Bowl XLVIII. he had two combined tackles as the 49ers lost to the Ravens 34-31 on February 3, 2013.
Things took a turn for the worse after Super Bowl XLVIII. Smith got involved in a single vehicle accident in San Jose, California, and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. As a result, he voluntarily entered a rehab facility, which caused him to miss five NFL games. Despite his early public struggles, he finished the 2013 season with 34 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He was also ranked No. 33 in the NFL Top 100 Years of 2014.
The following year, Smith was reinstated in Week 11 after serving a nine-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies, but the 49ers released him following his third DUI arrest.
After that, Smith signed a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders on September 11, 2015. He finished his first season with the Raiders with 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks in nine games and seven starts.
In 2016, Smith re-signed with the Raiders and later applied for reinstatement, but no reinstatement occurred, so he sat out during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, respectively. Following a domestic violence incident, Oakland released him on March 5, 2018, and that domestic violence incident was the first of three arrests for Smith in the past two months alone.
Smith violated a court order on March 23, 2018. He was ordered to stay away from a woman (who was later revealed to be his fiancee) he assaulted earlier that month.
Smith was also arrested on April 8, 2018. He reportedly violated the terms of a protective order from his previous domestic violence arrest. He was held on $500,000 bail.
The question isn’t “who can bond Smith out of jail?” It’s “can Smith stay out of trouble?” The 28-year-old has time to turn things around for the better, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. His fiancee–who has only know him for three months–is reportedly going to leave him and keep the ring that he gave her.
A short (or long) jail stint is going to protect the people, but it’s likely not going to save Smith. He has to want to stay out of trouble in order to try to make a comeback in the NFL.