When linebacker Aldon Smith was drafted seventh overall by San Francisco out of Missouri there were more than a few people in the NFL who wondered if Smith had the maturity to last in the sport. The outside speculation was even louder.
The draft guide for Pro Football Weekly wrote of Smith: "Is still immature and needs to figure out what it means to be a pro."
On the field, Smith damn sure figured it out. He had 14 sacks as a rookie and was one of the big reasons why the 49ers' defense was so surprisingly good last season. Smith proved, on the field, he is one of the bright young defensive stars in the sport.
But off the field, well, off the field those doubts might be ringing accurate. The 49ers confirmed Smith was injured and various published reports say he was stabbed at a party and received minor injuries. Also at this party, two people were allegedly shot.
Smith might be a victim here. We just don't know. One report says Smith was breaking up a fight. That is far better than a report saying he started a fight. But I'm sure the 49ers don't want him around a fight, period. Fight breaks out, just go. Leave.
The problem is Smith also has a DUI arrest from January so while he deserves best wishes, his decision making might not deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Smith, like other players, didn't attend the rookie symposium because of the lockout. The symposium is far from perfect but who knows, it may have helped.
Hell, maybe all Smith did was go to a freaking party, and things beyond his control, got out of control. Maybe he couldn't leave before it got crazy. And to think Smith should just stay at home and play Madden and watch The Matrix is also unfair and unreasonable.
But those doubters that were there before the draft will only multiply. And multiply some more. They'll be wondering if he gets it -- even if he did nothing wrong.