49ers activate OLB Aldon Smith from NFI list

11/1/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

On September 23, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport suggested that San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith - who was placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list after making the decision to go to rehab - would miss "a month or so." Five weeks have gone by since that report, and it appears that Rapoport was more or less on the money. The 49ers announced on Thursday that they are activating Smith from the NFI list, making him eligible to play after the team's Week 9 bye.

Blog Photo - 49ers activate OLB Aldon Smith from NFI listSmith was arrested for driving under the influence and marijuana possession in September. The 49ers allowed him to play in the following game - a decision that drew some criticism - but Smith has not played since that Week 3 contest. Shortly after that game, he announced that he would be "taking a leave of absence to address my health," and he admitted himself to a rehab program.

Just because Smith is active does not mean he is out of the water just yet. He turned himself in on felony weapons charges on Tuesday and has a November 12 court date. In addition, he still has outstanding charges for the DUI and marijuana possession that sparked this whole mess. Some good news is that, because of his willingness to seek treatment for his problems, the NFL may not suspend Smith, who has already essentially missed five games due to his behavior.

Smith's return will provide a boost to a 49ers pass rush that has slipped to 22nd in the league in sacks. With 4.5 sacks in just three games, Smith still leads the team in that department. Rookie Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta had been filling in opposite of Ahmad Brooks during Smith's absence, but they will now be relegated to a bench role.

The Aldon Smith saga is likely far from over, but 49ers fans can breath a sigh of relief for now, as he should be on the field for the foreseeable future.
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