San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been granted an indefinite leave of absence to enter rehab, the team announced last night.
His locker has been cleared out, and he won’t play in Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Smith was arrested and charged with DUI on Friday morning, an hour before practice, after driving into a tree. Marijuana was also allegedly found in his car, according to police.
It’s his third high-profile legal incident since he was drafted in 2011.
He still played in San Francisco’s 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts yesterday. But now he’s leaving the team to seek help.
49ers CEO Jed York explained the timing of the decision (via PFT):
“Our opinion was, sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to seek treatment in the future, that didn’t seem like an appropriate punishment. I know it might not sound reasonable, but for Aldon to be able to face the media, face his teammates, and take full responsibility for what he’s doing, we felt that was the best situation for Aldon himself, and for the team, and ultimately the community at large. And I realise people might not agree with that decision, but that was the decision that we felt was best.”
Smith himself also offered an apology:
“First off, I wanted to apologise to the team, the organisation, my family, everybody I let down. I also want to let it be known that this is a problem and something I will get fixed. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure this never happens again. I also want everyone to know, once again, I’m sorry and like I said, this won’t happen again.”
We aren’t in a position to say when someone should or shouldn’t enter rehab.
But the team certainly could have handled this better, because right now it looks like they decided to delay his treatment/indefinite leave of absence until after a big game against the Colts.
A look at the scene of his single-car crash:
RT @mattbarrows: Neighbour: Aldon Smith’s foot on the accelerator of SUV, which was against tree, when police arrived pic.twitter.com/dyQmYxLib8
— Steve Frederick (@SportsGuyTweets) September 20, 2013
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