With plenty of unknowns surrounding 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, one fact has become clear: He will participate in the team’s offseason program until he’s told not to.
Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported that Smith was present for the launch of offseason workouts.
Unless Smith is suspended by the team or the league or incarcerated, Smith has every right to report for voluntary workouts, which pay $175 per day. The structure and support could be useful to him at a time when his career, and his life, could go in one of two different directions.
Having Smith in the building also gives coaches (initially, strength and conditioning coaches only) and teammates an opportunity to get a close look at him, to see how he’s doing. And to assess whether he’s possibly having ongoing struggles with alcohol, which placed him in rehab for more than a month last season.
His recent arrest at LAX resulted in an observation from police that it appeared Smith had been drinking earlier in the day. If the 49ers decide Smith needs further intervention, he could be placed on the non-football illness list at some point.
Smith’s presence at offseason workouts comes at a time when the team is still deciding whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Smith’s rookie contract. The deadline for exercising the option arrives on May 3.