“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” – quote from the 1993 movie, “A Bronx Tale.”
Aldon Smith is 24 years old and has enough talent to fill an empty Candlestick Park. In three seasons with the 49ers, he has 42 sacks in 43 games. Do you know how many sacks Michael Strahan, who had 1411/2 in his career and will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, had in his first three seasons with the New York Giants? Try 13.
That’s the kind of talent we’re talking about with Smith. It’s that kind of talent that is keeping 49ers owner Jed York up late at night, wondering if all the headaches are worth keeping his star linebacker, all the while wincing every time his cellphone rings or chimes with an incoming text.
If it’s not bad news these days, York’s phone isn’t ringing.
York, general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh all supported Smith when he suffered stab wounds in 2012 while breaking up a fight during a party. That incident led to Smith being charged on three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.
They stood by Smith when he was twice arrested for driving under the influence – the second last September, which led him to seek treatment.
But when Smith allegedly toldpolice at Los Angeles International Airport last Sunday that he had a bomb while being detained after becoming belligerent, how could the 49ers’ brass continue to keep a supportive hand on his shoulder and not take one step back?
They had to consider it both a slap in the face and yet another embarrassment for the team that stood by him.
The 49ers will likely wait for the legal process to play out before deciding what to do about Smith. Cut him? Suspend him for half the season? The entire season? Put him through counseling and then put him back in uniform?
Just three years into what could be a marvelous career, Smith is on the brink of wasting all that talent because of the choices he has made.
– Victor Contreras
What to do
Baseball, Fresno at River Cats, 7:05 p.m.: It’s the last chance to catch the Cats at Raley Field before a four-game trip.
What should the 49ers do about Aldon Smith?
• Cut him before the 2014 season
• Make him sit out a season
• Give him another chance, let him play
Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports
Thursday’s poll results
Who should be the Kings’ MVP ?
• DeMarcus Cousins: 51%
• Rudy Gay: 9%
• Isaiah Thomas: 18%
• No one: 22%
Total votes: 293