Aldon Smith expected to play for 49ers despite DUI arrest

September 22, 2013

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith is expected to play Sunday, a little over 48 hours after his arrest early Friday morning.

(AP Photo / San Jose Police)
(AP Photo / San Jose Police)

Smith was involved in a single-vehicle accident at around 7 a.m. EDT near San Jose and was charged with driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office. He had a .15 blood-alcohol level, almost twice the legal limit in California, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“At some point, they did a breath sample and it was over the limit,” San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol confirmed, via CSNBayArea.com.

“He was not injured, and it does not appear as if anybody else was in the vehicle with him. And there were no other involved vehicles or reported injuries.”

The tree Smith struck is to the right, just out of the frame, Barrows reports. The arrest is Smith’s fifth, Barrows writes in the Sacramento Bee, in 2 1/2 years.

Still, Coach Jim Harbaugh plans to use him Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. “I expect Aldon to be back at work and play on Sunday,” Harbaugh said Friday. What the NFL will do is another matter. For now, the team is just focusing on football, a decision that doesn’t sit well with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ann Killion, who writes:

This is Smith’s second DUI arrest in 19 months. Smith, who will turn 24 Wednesday, was stabbed at a party at his house last year. He faces lawsuits from that event and possible prosecution on gun charges. He was involved in a single-car accident last year.

Harbaugh said that while he expected there to be consequences, any decision to suspend Smith was “the exclusivity of the league.” He brushed off further questions with his standard, “I feel that ground’s been plowed.”

He said nothing about Smith’s troubling history. Harbaugh didn’t express concern. He didn’t say that the team expects more from its players. He didn’t say the words you would hope to hear from the team’s leader.

Let’s be real. Harbaugh doesn’t want to discipline Smith because he wants him on the field. The 49ers’ defensive front is already compromised by injury. The 49ers need Smith to put pressure on Andrew Luck on Sunday.

It’s only about football.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · September 21, 2013