San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith will not be charged for an April incident at Los Angeles International Airport when he allegedly made a false bomb threat, the Los Angeles City Attorney's office announced.
That's clearly good news for Smith, who avoided felony charges from the district attorney's office in April, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The case was then passed to the city attorney, who was examining it for "possible misdemeanor consideration" within that same report.
According to ESPN.com's Bill Williamson, Smith will have a hearing at the end of July to talk about the incident at LAX.
#49ers Smith will have hearing in L.A. July 30 to discuss matter and its repercussions.— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) July 1, 2014
Despite dodging charges in this case, Smith isn't out of the woods yet. Also according to Williamson, the former All-Pro will be sentenced on July 25 for three felony gun charges stemming from an incident at his house in 2012.
#49ers Smith sentenced July 25 for pleading no contest to three felony gun charges. Could face jail time. NFL could decide to suspend him.— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) July 1, 2014
After that sentencing is announced, as Williamson notes, the NFL can then step in to take action against Smith if it so chooses. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported in April during an appearance on NFL Total Access, via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, that "a suspension at the start of the season is likely, though it's unknown how many games it will last."
Smith missed five games last season after being admitted to rehab for alcohol abuse. He returned in Week 9 and finished the year with 8.5 sacks.
The 49ers opted to pick up Smith's fifth-year contract option for the 2015 season, valued at $9.75 million. It's not guaranteed until next March unless the 24-year-old suffers an injury in 2014 that affects him in 2015.
In April, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke supported Smith (via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee):
Trent Baalke on Aldon Smith: "We're a family. You don't just open a door and toss people out of it."— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) April 25, 2014
It's no secret that the 49ers defense is better with Smith on the field. He has 42 sacks in 43 regular-season games, which is not something that you can just replace. The team has stood by him throughout his various legal troubles, trying to help him turn his life around.
They do have depth up front on defense, though it will be tested if he's suspended and star inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman starts the season on the physically unable to perform list after suffering a torn ACL in the NFC Championship game against Seattle.
There is still a long road ahead for Smith to get through this current situation, but today's announcement from the L.A. City Attorney's office is a step in the right direction.