Embattled 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith might be missing some time in the NFL, if he ever plays again.
Smith pleaded no contest to three felony counts of possessing assault weapons and a misdemeanor DUI Wednesday afternoon, according to a report.
Smith will be sentenced on July 25, and faces punishment from probation to more than four years in prison. The NFL can also lay down their own justice, which could range from a one-game to indefinite suspension.
The NFL is reeling from a recently-settled concussion lawsuit filed by thousands of former players, and is currently defending itself in another medical-related lawsuit.
Factor in the Aaron Hernandez case, and it all lends to a notion that the league may choose to be harsh in penalties for the All-Pro 49ers linebacker.
The NFL has never dealt with such a huge blow to their public image all at once, and previous suspensions for addiction problems have been tough.
In 2010, Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was arrested multiple times for codeine possession and was suspended indefinitely before being reinstated in 2013.
Jets quarterback Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely after being convicted of dog fighting in 2007, also being reinstated at a later date.
During the two suspensions, the league was not dealing with multiple image crises, particularly ones dealing with murder, bullying or felony weapons possession.
49ers General Manager Trent Baalke issued a statement, saying:
“We are aware that Aldon entered a plea today in a case that we have closely monitored. Today was an important step towards bringing that situation to a resolution. Any further questions concerning today’s hearing should be directed to his attorney.”
Smith could also be charged with more crimes in Los Angeles after being accused of yelling “bomb” to a TSA agent in April. In that case, the district attorney has not decided whether there is sufficient evidence for any particular charge.
On the same day that Smith will receive his sentence, July 25, the 49ers will begin training camp.