Sean Smith’s on-field struggles may pale in comparison to what he is facing off the field.
What’s been a tumultuous 2017 campaign for the veteran Oakland Raiders cornerback can potentially turn into an absolute nightmare after he was arrested on Thursday. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced it was charging Smith with felony assault of a Pasadena man — who happens to be his sister’s boyfriend.
Sean Smith’s attorney Daniel Rosenberg states he and his client will enter a plea of not guilty and fight the charges.
Not surprisingly, considering the timing TMZ broke the news, the Raiders did not immediately comment.
What Smith (30 years old) is alleged of doing sounds brutal. According to the L.A. DA’s Office news release, he “faces one felony count each of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury.” The release continues with: “Smith allegedly beat and then stomped on the victim’s head near the corner of Arroyo Parkway and Colorado Boulevard early in the morning on July 4.”
Smith’s court date is slated for Sept. 29 in Pasadena and, if convicted, Smith faces up to seven years in state prison.
Plenty of speculation will occur from now until details on the incident come to light. In situations like these, the allegations — no matter how grave — remain just that. However, it is certainly not a good look for a player who was demoted before again seeing first-team snaps this week.
Whether it is scheme or the player himself, a high-priced (4-year, $38 million contract; $20 million guaranteed) free agent bust Smith is becoming. His struggles against fleet-footed wide receivers did not dissuade coaches from putting him in that position against the Arizona Cardinals in the preseason opener.
An argument can be made Smith no longer has the footwork and athleticism required to be a press-man corner. Another can be made that the Raiders simply don’t know how to use the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder.
What’s becoming abundantly clear is Smith is starting to resemble former Raider corner Nnamdi Asomugha in the latter stages of his career — a cover corner who no longer could cover. Smith did have an encouraging performance in camp this week (breaking up a TD pass to Michael Crabtree).
However, it could be a while before we see No. 21 on the field. He might be cleared of the charges, but that process could be prolonged. Smith may also be suspended by Mr. Judge, Jury and Executioner — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — even if found innocent. (The court of law has little sway on the “commish” as he can dole punishment as he sees fit.)
Smith’s status for this Saturday’s preseason game and beyond is a mystery, just like what exactly happened on that fateful 4th of July incident is to us.
At least, for now.