Will the NFL suspend Aldon Smith when he returns?

September 22, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) celebrates with defensive end Ray McDonald (91, right) after tackling Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12, not pictured) during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was facing some personal demons earlier in the season and ultimately decided to enter a rehab center to address his alcohol problem, but there is still the possibility that he could face further discipline once he makes his return to the team.

However, since Smith took things into his own hands and entered the rehab facility, the NFL could go a little lighter on any punishment.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was speaking to the media after a summit for European fans, when he was asked if the league would weigh the decision by Smith to go to rehab into their punishment.

“Yes, it will be a factor, for sure,” Goodell said, via ESPN.

“Certainly, the issue here isn’t to discipline players. It’s to stop the behavior. Aldon has voluntarily said, ‘I need help.’

“We’re obviously there to support him, and the 49ers did a great job getting him into a facility to try to get help. We support that.”

Smith could return to the 49ers following their game on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. At that point, we will learn whether or not he will return and how the NFL decides to handle his off-field issues.

Topics: Aldon Smith, NFL, San Francisco 49ers

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