San Francisco 49ers

On 49ers: Alcohol is players’ biggest enemy

Neighbors say there are perhaps a half-dozen of them a year: House parties so loud that the bass from the speakers rattles their windows well into the early-morning hours.

When the sun comes up, the scores of cars that had been parked on the street are gone, the neighbors say, and the only signs of recent revelry are a wine glass or two strewn on the grass in the neighbors’ front yards.

That was the scene Sunday morning at 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald’s home in the tony Silver Creek neighborhood in the hills east of San Jose.

The party, which tight end Vernon Davis said was attended by at least half the team, broke up when police arrived at 2:40 a.m. and arrested McDonald on suspicion of felony domestic abuse. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident and has yet to file charges.

Squad cars rushed to the same neighborhood nearly a year ago.

McDonald’s house is only six houses from where teammate Aldon Smith drove off the road and came to a stop against a small front-yard tree at 7 a.m. on Sept. 19. The black mark – left when the rear tire of Smith’s pickup truck spun until it started smoking – is still visible on the home’s driveway.

No wonder McDonald, a few hours after Smith was arrested for DUI that day, said he “rolled by” to check on his teammate. He lives only a few hundred feet away and could hear the commotion.

All of which points to a theme for the 49ers, who lead the league in arrests over the last two years: Hard partying, heavy drinking and run-ins with the law.

San Francisco’s biggest enemy isn’t the Seahawks, it’s alcohol.

• In 2010, McDonald was pulled over for driving 94 mph in a 65-mph zone while returning from a party and was arrested for DUI. He was later arrested again for an outstanding warrant stemming from the initial DUI arrest.



• In 2012, defensive end Demarcus Dobbs ran off the road into a chain-link fence and was arrested for DUI at 3:45 a.m. on his 25th birthday.



• In 2013, reserve offensive lineman Al Netter was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol and arrested for DUI.



• Last summer, linebacker Ahmad Brooks hit then-teammate Lamar Divens three times on the head with a beer bottle, according to court records. Divens said Brooks also threatened to retrieve a gun. Brooks was described in a police report in court records as “very drunk.” Charges never were filed in the case.



• In January, center Daniel Kilgore was arrested in Tennessee for public intoxication. Charges were dismissed in April.



Then there’s Smith, who had two DUI arrests in 21/2 years. Breathalyzer tests from the first, in Miami Beach in 2012, registered blood-alcohol levels of .194 and .176, more than double the legal limit. Last year, his blood-alcohol content was measured at .15.

Smith checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center for six weeks after last year’s incident, and he’s insisted he hasn’t had a drink since.

Six months after his stint in rehab, however, he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said they suspected Smith had been drinking before arriving at the airport but no blood-alcohol test was given and the charge that he made a bomb threat was dropped.

Still, it was an ugly and untimely episode for someone already being scrutinized by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And if you’re looking for a reason why Smith’s nine-game suspension was bigger than expected and why Goodell – as he said he would in October – didn’t appear to factor into the punishment the games Smith sat out in 2013, the LAX incident seems like a solid guess.

When Smith was sentenced in July for the September DUI event and for gun charges stemming from an out-of-control party, the assistant district attorney in the case, Brian Buckelew, noted that Smith appeared to have been inebriated at LAX.

“The greatest danger is his continuing use and misuse of alcohol,” Buckelew said at the time.

That goes for all of the 49ers.

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