For the fifth time since being drafted No. 7 overall in the 2011 NFL draft, outside linebacker Aldon Smith has been arrested and three of those arrests have been due to DUIs. Smith was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI, hit and run, and vandalism. After hearing of this news and consulting with Smith, the San Francisco 49ers decided to part ways with the former 2012 NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Smith was a huge contributor for the 49ers in his time with them. In his rookie season, he set the San Francisco franchise record for sacks by a rookie with 14. He also holds the San Francisco franchise record for sacks in a season with 19.5. He is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30 sacks, doing so in 27 games. Not only was he the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, he was a Pro Bowler and a First Team All-Pro. For his career, he has 152 tackles, 44 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception.
He has had a great career for the 49ers, on the field. Off the field has been a completely different story now with his fifth arrest and third of DUI. For as great as he was and such a vital piece to the Niners defense, that no longer matters. What matters the most now is that he gets the help he needs. It will be a long time, if ever, that he plays professional football again. Luckily, nobody including Smith, was hurt after his latest DUI.
The biggest question the general public – the people who don’t make millions of dollars a year – ask whenever professional athletes get arrested for DUIs is why they can’t call for a driver. Think about it, professional organizations have people these athletes can call to get a ride to and from places, especially while drinking. Most players in professional sports have enough money that they can hire their own driver in order to not put themselves in situations like this. Drinking and driving is never acceptable. For professional athletes, not only could it hurt their respective teams, but it could also seriously hurt themselves or anyone else who happens to be out whether on a vehicle or on foot.
For the time being, the 25-year old out of the University of Missouri will have to focus not on football, but focus on himself and getting the help he needs. One DUI in life is a problem, let alone three in a four-year span. It’ll be a while before any team in the NFL even considers signing the troubled Smith, but in that time frame, however long it will be, Smith needs to focus on himself and whatever demons he could possibly be battling. This is no longer a matter of football, it’s a matter of finding one’s self. For Aldon Smith, I hope he gets the help he needs in order to move on to the next chapter of his life.