NFL reporter Albert Breer provided an update on Aldon Smith's situation, thanks to a source within the 49ers. As with any anonymous source, we do have to take things with a grain of salt. That being said, all this information does help to paint a better picture of the entire situation.
The source told Breer that the team thinks these issues developed primarily once he was with the team. Breer pointed to some pre-draft reports about maturity issues, but the source thinks that Aldon becoming a dad, having trust issues, some sleep issues and generally becoming more of a provider really pushed things over the edge for him. One team official told Breer:
One team official said that, when Smith returns, "I think the players see that now they have to be his family more than being a buddy." The 49ers will try to get friends Ray McDonald and NaVorro Bowman, mentor figure Justin Smith and Boone to be active with Smith.
Where Breer's report gets interesting is the process of activating Smith. The 49ers apparently got approval from Roger Goodell to place Smith on the NFI list, and would need permission once they were ready to take him off the list. Normally we hear about the NFI list in the context of players placed there during the preseason. I don't remember the last time a player was placed on the list in-season.
Breer suggested Aldon's activation from the NFI list was likely to require the blessing of the rehab facility. That's not exactly a surprise, but you have to wonder how the process will play out over the next month or so. The general belief is this in-patient rehab would be approximately a month. We'll see if it plays out like that.
One thing we do know is that Aldon has access to Twitter. He sent this out right near kickoff last night:
Let's do this! #Niners— Aldon Smith (@AldonSmith) September 27, 2013