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LB Aldon Smith Could Return to the San Francisco 49ers After Bye

October 22nd, 2014 at 2:47 AM
By Edwin Mariano Santiano Wise

If you were surprised by the notion that outside linebacker Aldon Smith could possibly return to the San Francisco 49ers for their week nine match up against the St. Louis Rams, you're probably not alone…just ask the 49ers.

According to NBC's Pro Football Talk,

"G.M. Trent Baalke quickly said he didn’t know anything about it. On Monday, coach Jim Harbaugh said the same thing."

Smith was suspended for nine games for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policy before the start of the season. However, during Sunday Night Football's halftime show, Mike Florio stated that Smith's suspension could be reduced by a game or two for good behavior. The Niners pass rushing specialist was slated to return to the team on November 10th, a day after their week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints.

The interesting point in this story was that there was no notion of a possible reduction when the suspension was given up.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen confirmed the reports by PFT and stated that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger and Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall experienced similar reductions during their past suspensions.

During the suspension, Smith has been allowed to attend meetings and conditioning workouts, but not practice.

The fourth-year pro out of Missouri's potential return would be a significant boost for a 49er team that has been leaking oil due to several key injuries. While the team has maintained a winning record heading into their week 8 bye, the Niners would surely welcome Smith's return as they missed Pro-Bowl left guard Mike Iupati and All-Pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis during their 42-17 loss to Denver. During the loss, the 49ers lost center Daniel Kilgore for the season with a fractured left ankle.

In addition to Willis, Iupati and Kilgore, the Niners are still without nose tackle Glenn Dorsey and All-Pro middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Tight end Vernon Davis, right tackle Anthony Davis and cornerback Tramaine Brock all have missed multiple games as well. Smith not only would be a significant boost to a defense that has only recorded 12 sacks (21st in the NFL) but could give a boost of moral for the entire team that came into the season knowing that they would need to maintain a ship that had gaping holes.

Let’s just hope Smith continues to keep his nose clean.

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