San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl linebacker Aldon Smith is no longer populating rehabilitation facility and has been activated by his team. The timing of his activation is very wise by the coaching staff and management because the team is in the midst of their bye week; Smith will have time to work on knocking off some rust if any and his conditioning. After the bye week, the 49ers will face the Carolina Panthers who are 4-3 and who may have found their offensive rhythm by running the football and playing defense.
Smith will be expected to pick up where he left off, being the primary pass rusher. The question is how long will it take Smith to return to form? The answer is not clear. Smith can get back into shape and continue to refine his technique, but mentally he may not be the same. Athletes have their vices, which can give them some extra fire on the field. That fire can lead to some of the most elite play on the field and if a player loses that, he may never be the same player again. Smith may not be one of the guys, because he is so young.
The 23-year-old has the time to get all his ducks in a row on the field as long as he stays out of trouble off the field. Granted, he put himself in these adverse situations, but trying times do change people — sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Smith will have the support of his teammates and the 49ers faithful against the Panthers when they play next week and Candlestick Park.