Yes, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith will play on Sunday. But he may not play much.
Per a league source, Smith’s playing time for Sunday will hinge on his mindset. If it seems that his Friday arrest for DUI and reportedly marijuana possession is affecting him, he could play sparingly. If it isn’t, he could play more.
And while the Niners won’t be disciplining Smith, it’s becoming more clear that something is coming. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the player’s well being has become the focal point for the organization. If the latest DUI incident shows that there’s a problem, getting that problem addressed is far more important than imposing punishment on the player.
Regardless, two of the best young defensive players in the NFL — Smith and Broncos linebacker Von Miller — now face serious challenges to their long-term viability and earning potential for reasons unrelated to their football ability.