Aldon Smith could have his nine-game NFL suspension reduced by "a game or two," according to Pro Football Talk, in a report that was confirmed by ESPN. Smith is currently sitting due to multiple violations of the league's personal conduct policy. His reduced suspension would be the result of good behavior, according to ESPN.
Currently, Smith's first game in which he is eligible to play is the San Francisco 49ers' bout against the New York Giants on Nov. 16. If his suspension is reduced, he could appear in one of the Niners' next two games after their Week 8 bye -- Nov. 2 against the St. Louis Rams or Nov. 9 against the New Orleans Saints.
The possibility of a reduced suspension had not previously been mentioned publicly, but the league has been lenient on Smith in other ways. The outside linebacker has been allowed to enter the team facility during his suspension, contrary to how the NFL has handled personal conduct suspensions in the past.
Smith was suspended in August after being sentenced on weapons and DUI charges stemming from separate arrests in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Smith also was involved in a bizarre incident at LAX airport, during which he reportedly became disorderly with authorities and stated he had a bomb.
Smith's reduced suspension would be contingent on whether he maintains his good behavior.
General manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh have yet to acknowledge the possibility of Smith's return. With the 49ers on a bye this week, they may not address the situation until after the weekend. The 49ers are coming off a 42-17 humbling at the hands of the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. The team's Smith-less pass rush currently ranks 21st in the NFL with 12 sacks on the season.