San Francisco 49ers unlikely to release Aldon Smith, but suspension seems 'likely'
Aldon Smith's future with the San Francisco 49ers is up in the air following his arrest at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday for reporting a false bomb threat. Smith faces a year in jail because of the charges, leading many to speculate whether or not he will be on the field -- or even on the 49ers roster -- next season.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the 49ers do not currently have plans to release Smith.
However, that doesn't mean he will be taking the field.
Rapoport states that many league sources believe a suspension is coming for Smith next season, and it could end up encompassing a large portion of the 2014 schedule thanks to his multiple run-ins with the law (Smith has been arrested twice for DUI in the last 27 months, and he currently faces three felony weapons charges related to a party at his home in 2012).
The 49ers hold a fifth-year option on Smith, a top-10 pick in 2011, but they aren't expected to exercise it, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. This would turn 2014 into a crucial prove-it season for Smith, making a suspension that much more damaging to his career.
Smith also could be sentenced to serve jail time, which would certainly put an end to his season.
"It is possible Aldon Smith isn't on the field because he may be in jail," Rapoport said.
Smith's chances of taking the field in 2014 remain up in the air, but if he does play, it appears it will be as a member of the 49ers. But the decision will be in the hands of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the legal system.