The San Francisco 49ers will pay All Pro linebacker Aldon Smith his full salary while he's in rehab.
Aldon Smith entered in-patient treatment this week for substance abuse after a very public drunk driving arrest. The incident was Smith's second in as many years, and concerning enough he took and "indefinite leave" from the team to work out his personal issues.
The 49ers have thrown their full support behind Aldon Smith, and plan to pay him the entirety of his $1.68 million salary.
The NFL probably won't be so kind, and Smith likely faces a suspension without pay for his second offense under the league's substance abuse policy. The suspension would be last 2-4 weeks and cost Smith $98 thousand a week.
Both the 49ers and Aldon Smith are hoping he can avoid such a suspension. He is the first player of his kind to voluntarily admit themselves to in-patient treatment, and the struggling 49ers need him back as soon as possible to solidify their defense.
For now San Francisco will have to find a way to survive without Aldon Smith. The team sits at 1-2 on the season and plays the St. Louis Rams Thursday night. It will be their first game without Smith since he was drafted two seasons ago.
Whether you agree with Aldon Smith being paid while in rehab or not, it's nice to see the 49ers are not willing to give up on the young player. Smith recorded a league record 33.5 sacks in his first two seasons, and with proper treatment still has an amazing career ahead of him. Here's to hoping he gets better and has a long and successful career.
[image via Wikimedia Commons]