Here we are, the first week of training camp and every team is optimistic, full of hopes and dreams of holding the Lombardi trophy in February. It’s no different for the San Francisco 49ers, who have an added incentive – the game will be played in their backyard.
So it was time to set aside the ugly offseason, which saw coaches fired, unforeseen retirements, and an onslaught from the media who believes that this team will be mediocre at best. Then the 49ers wake up to the news that their very talented but very troubled OLB Aldon Smith has been arrested once again – the charges are DUI, hit and run and vandalism. This has to be as much of a psychological hit to the team as it is a hit on the football field. How does a team not get deflated? How do they not lose morale when the “sacks” keep coming?
There is no reason for the 49ers to keep taking chances on Aldon Smith. Trent Baalke took a chance on him by not releasing him last year and taking the time to mentor him. The organization has done everything to try and help Aldon become a better person on and off the field, and he has time after time after time failed the organization. His fifth year option was picked up, and his contract restructured to a pay as you go. There is a 1.6 million dollar hit in dead money if he is to be released, but at this point he has left the team no other option.
Sure, they seem to have good options to fill in for Aldon , but it’s not the quality of the backups that’s concerning, it’s the morale of a football team that can’t seem to catch a break. How will they react to the news? How will this affect the team going forward? This is yet to be seen, but we will find out sooner rather than later. The season is right around the corner, and before a single down has even been played, things are not looking good for the 49ers.
*Aldon Smith has since been released by the 49ers