The 49ers have released outside linebacker Aldon Smith following an arrest Friday morning on suspicion of DUI, hit-and-run, and vandalism. This is Smith's fifth arrest since 2012. Smith had already been on thin ice with the organization following his nine-game suspension in 2014 under the NFL's personal conduct and substance abuse policy, and apparently this was the last straw. They released a statement:
"This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues. Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue."
Jim Tomsula addressed the media Friday morning, noting that "It's a sad day. This is a day that doesn't have anything to do about football. Although he won't be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he won't walk this path alone."
Smith was expected to be a major force for a decimated Niner defense this season, a group that has lost Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Dan Skuta, Perrish Cox, and Chris Culliver. I saw a piece by John Clayton the other day that suggested Smith could be in the 16-22 sack range this year, so it's obviously a big loss again for San Francisco. Smith had 19.5 sacks in 2012, was the fastest player in NFL history to reach 30 sacks, and holds the NFL record for most sacks in first two seasons (33.5).
The 49ers have had a tough offseason, to put it lightly. In addition to the losses on defense listed above, they parted ways with their head coach and both coordinators, and lost starters in Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati, and Anthony Davis. They have quite a few questions to answer on the field this upcoming season.