San Francisco 49er Aldon Smith's false bomb threat arrest is 3rd since 2012
Before the 2011 NFL draft, a scouting report on University of Missouri junior defensive end Aldon Smith said the star defender "has some past experience with getting into trouble and is a higher-than-average risk for this sort of behavior."
Still, teams were enamored with Smith's size and speed as a pass rusher; the San Francisco 49ers went ahead and drafted him with the seventh overall pick.
While Smith, 24, has been everything the 49ers had hoped for on the field, he's also become everything they feared off it. His arrest Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport in connection with issuing a fake bomb threat was Smith's third since January 2012. He also took a five-game leave last season for substance-abuse treatment.
Los Angeles police Sgt. Karla Ortiz released a statement Sunday saying that the 2012 All-Pro was pulled aside for a random secondary security screening and became "belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding towards the gate area."
"Los Angeles Airport Police made contact with him in the gate area where he became uncooperative," according to the statement. Smith was arrested and charged with a false report of a bomb threat. He was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail Sunday night.
This most recent legal problem comes more than two years after Smith's first, when as a 49ers rookie, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Miami. The January 2012 violation was reduced to reckless driving after Smith agreed to several conditions, including taking a DUI class.
However, last September he was again arrested in Santa Clara County, California, on suspicion of drunken driving and possession of marijuana after he crashed his pickup truck into a tree. He was charged with two misdemeanor DUIs, prompting teammate Vernon Davis to say at the time: "Some guys listen, some guys don't. You can take the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink."
"I'm sure he'll come around," Davis added. "It's just a matter of time. Hopefully, he'll learn from this situation."
But it would be less than a month before the next wave of legal trouble crashed down on Smith. Police charged him with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon after an investigation into a shooting at a San Jose house party hosted by Smith in June 2012. The football player himself was stabbed during the party, at which two men were injured by gunfire from an "unknown party guest," according to prosecutors. Those men have filed a civil suit against Smith, who pleaded not guilty to the weapons charges in November.
In January, after Smith returned from that five-game leave of absence, he told USA Today that, "Everybody makes mistakes. It's (important to) learn from them and move toward the right direction, and that's what I've been doing."
Head coach Jim Harbaugh agreed, saying, "He's handling his business. We all tend to forget that the reason we got smart is because we learned from our mistakes."
Following this latest alleged mistake, there have been more calls online and on-air for the team to split with their talented star. The man likely to make such a call is the team's general manager, Trent Baalke.
For now though, all Baalke has said is that he was "disappointed" to hear about Sunday's incident at the airport. "As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment," he said in a statement.