Aldon Smith’s Waste Of Talent, Career & Life

Aldon Smith has as many mug shots as action photos in last eight months

He is 24 years old and despite fame and fortune, Aldon Smith is still acting like a troubled teenager.

The local kid out of Raytown and the defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers can’t seem to get out of his own way, adding another chapter to what is now a two-year rap sheet of trouble. Smith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, his third legal entanglement in the last eight months. Upset when he was selected for a secondary security check, Smith reportedly told a TSA agent that he had a bomb. He was allowed to walk away, but was then arrested at his gate as he waited for his flight.

Being annoyed about airport security checks does not make Smith any different than many other travelers these days. But he again showed his immaturity and inability to control his temper by failing to deal with his situation as an adult. That was visible before when he was arrested in September for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. It was there again in October when he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of assault rifles.

Smith went off to rehab, missed five games last year, returned and he was looking to the future. Right now, his 2014 season is suddenly in danger. More importantly, his life is at a crossroads. Over at Mizzou, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckam got booted off the team for a series of behavior problems that finally overpowered his talent. His choice now is to mature and smarten up.

It may be time for the 49ers or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to do the same with Aldon Jacarus Ramon Smith. It’s time to grow up.

Wisdom from Herm

Former Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards was in Kirksville, Missouri last weekend, speaking at Truman State University. As always, Herm had a message to deliver, one that Aldon Smith should hear. He said:

“It’s about when you leave this earth, what did you do for others? Don’t look at your occupation and feel like your occupation defines you because it doesn’t. It’s about service. It’s about giving back to your community, especially when you’re put in a position where you have the ability to do that, to give back.

“Time is our most valuable commodity. When you give people time, you give of yourself. Everybody gets the same amount of time every day. We all get 24 hours. How we choose to use it is on us.”


No longer the greatest NFL Draft class in history

As predictable as the swallows returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano or the buzzards arriving back in Hinckley, Ohio, every spring brings talk among NFL personnel types about the quality of the talent pool for the NFL Draft. The conversation begins with scouting chatter about the high quality of the class; then as the evaluations dig deeper and deeper, the pimples and boils of the players become more visible.

That’s especially true this spring. Back in February conversation centered on the 2014 group being one of the deepest and best collections of players the league had seen in years. Now that the selection meeting is just over three weeks away, we are hearing more and more about what’s not right with these guys.

Just this week, an unnamed evaluator for an NFL team ripped to shred the reputation of University of South Carolina defensive end/outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. The Trenton (N.J.) Times reported these comments:

“He’s spoiled and he’s lazy. He’s never worked hard a day in his life. Now all of a sudden you’re going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard? I don’t see it. Oh, he’s going to be a high pick; some team will fall in love with him. But wait and see, just wait and see. I just don’t think you can count on him.”

Whether those comments were accurate in the reporting or evaluation, they came during “Lyin’ Time” in the league. It starts about six weeks out from the NFL Draft, as teams are immersed in final discussions on their draft board and deciding what players they need more information about. That’s when the clubs start to blow smoke up everybody’s skirt about their likes, dislikes and grades. It can be true, it can be false, it can be with intent, or it can be a scout getting something off his chest.

I learned this lesson years ago when a scout for the Chargers told me his team would never select a cornerback early in the draft that had a significant knee injury in college. He guaranteed it would never happen because players at the position seldom returned to pre-injury form. Weeks later, San Diego used the 22nd pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft to select cornerback Gill Byrd out of San Jose State. Byrd came out after losing playing time with the Spartans because of a serious knee injury.

And, all Byrd did was play for 10 years with the Bolts, earning four All-Pro honors, two trips to the Pro Bowl and a spot in the Chargers Hall of Fame.

Since then, I’ve taken all of the conversation over the last month before the NFL Draft as anything but football gospel.

Big 12, SEC athletics are cash cows

Every few years talk of college athletes receiving compensation for their performances rises up from the sporting ether and gains preliminary traction. But the momentum always seems to die as soon as it gets rolling amongst the public or with the media. The ruling class of college athletics – presidents, athletic directors, coaches and administrators at the NCAA and conference levels – has millions of dollars at stake, and they do everything possible to control the discourse and push significant change back into the shadows.

There’s little doubt today’s athletes deserve a bigger slice of the pie than the room, board and tuition they currently receive from educational institutions. Also, without a doubt, the particulars of the situation are not easy to create or define. Some of the smartest folks on the planet are already working at our colleges and universities; at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe. It’s a complex, messy and difficult subject but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. It’s no longer about education – it is big business.

Proof comes in Blair Kerkhoff’s piece in Monday’s K.C. Star about the Big 12 and SEC athletic revenues for 2012-13. The SEC had income of $314.5 million from sports. The Big 12 pulled in $214.8 million. That’s over half-a-billion dollars produced by just two conferences with 24 teams.

The athletes deserve a seat at the table.

8 Responses to “Aldon Smith’s Waste Of Talent, Career & Life”

  • April 15, 2014  - ChuckXX says:

    I’ve always said these kids need a good life coach. But would they listen to him???

  • April 15, 2014  - R W says:

    To all the 3 main storylines listed, my response: What else is new?

    Young athletes with millions are going to be tested on maturity and behavior issues. Some will pass, some won’t and those in the latter category will make headlines and bring embarrassment to themselves.

    ‘You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes’, is the theme song that should be pumped into the sound system of the NFL draft at MSG every year. Everyone knows it and expects it.

    Paying or not paying college athletes is always going to be a back burner story until the NCAA declares for the pros, much as a young athlete in most any sport either does or doesn’t.

  • April 15, 2014  - el cid says:

    Guys, we need to get over the “belief” there is something special about athletes who excel. They are just put together by DNA or God to be the right shape and size, then they have the drive to be better than the fellow next to them. Finally they get paid. No where in there is a requirement they be role models, better people, or even decent people…..they are good at something, sports or entertainment.

    There are no consequences for their actions, even criminal actions as long as they can ball or sing or something the rest of us cannot do. Seems to me only not having the money seems to effect them and their behavior.

  • April 15, 2014  - Johnfromwichita says:

    chuck, some would and some would not.

    I always wanted the NCAA make colleges create a major in Professional Sports. Teach these kids life skills, money skills, interpersonal skills. At least give them a chance to learn something that might help them. After all, the schools are making a fortune off the backs of their jocks.

    Beats the hell out of a union.

  • April 15, 2014  - el cid says:

    John, you stated an instant answer. Why are some of these kids walking around with college degree and bearly able to complete a sentence, give them a degree in Sports. Make it mandatory they take money management (like writing checks and basic math), counseling to survive without a posse, what to do when you blow a knee and need a job, etc. Survival technics for later in life…. then ball your heart out. Heck, if it keeps unions out of college sports, pay them $40,000 a year for food and sodas.

  • April 16, 2014  - Kenny says:

    Amazing how nothing happens until the threat of a union becomes very real to the NCAA.

  • April 16, 2014  - Tracy Leonard says:

    Gary Pinkel is certainly disappointed, even if he may not be surprised. He seems to consistently make a concerted effort to instill a sense of responsibility in his players, although neither Aldon Smith nor DGB appears to have received the message.

  • April 16, 2014  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Kenny, sometimes a union is a good answer to get people what they deserve. It’s worked before and it still helps some.

    But the NCAA has nothing to fear about a union; won’t affect them at all. Nor does the tenured and entrenched employees at our colleges and universities have any reason to worry.

    It’s the poor, non-jock, working two jobs and knee deep in debt student that would pay. Once, hard to believe now, that was me.

    That’s why I don’t want college sports to even think about a union.

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