Friends feared struggling NFLer would drink himself to death

Friends feared struggling NFLer would drink himself to death

Aldon Smith’s struggles with substance abuse spiraled so far out of control, those close to the defensive end believe the alcohol dependency could have led to his demise.

“I’m worried for him. I’m worried for his safety,” an insider told TMZ Sports. “He’s an alcoholic. It’s not about football anymore.”

Smith, 28, who was believed to be drinking every day, entered rehab Sunday following an alleged domestic violence incident involving his fiancée the night before. According to the Mercury News, the police report indicated Smith bit his fiancée’s wrists and then climbed out the window. He was gone when police arrived.

“I can tell you this … Aldon called my parents and asked them to take him to rehab,” his fiancée told the gossip site. “He complied. They went and got him. I was not there. My family took him and had him checked in.”

The seventh-overall pick in the 2011 draft, Smith’s NFL career has gone up in smoke amid several run-ins with the law and suspensions. He was arrested in 2012 and 2013 on suspicion of DUI. In August 2015, he was arrested for an alleged hit-and-run, prompting his release from the San Francisco 49ers. Smith signed with the Raiders in September of the same year, but the league suspended him for a year as a result of the hit-and-run incident. He later agreed to plead no contest in exchange for the DUI charge getting dropped. Oakland released Smith on Monday.

Upon news of Smith’s release, Smith’s former coach, Jack Del Rio, issued a statement, taking aim at the NFL’s policies.

“Never liked ‘league rules’ that eliminate the ability to offer Aldon and others in his situation the structure they so desperately need,” the Raiders former coach tweeted.

As Smith seeks treatment, friends hope the latest string of unfortunate events serve as a wake-up call.

“We’re hoping this is rock bottom for him,” a TMZ source said.

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