It's time for those who really care about Aldon Smith and his potential victims to go beyond intervention and declare a state of emergency. Please try to rescue this troubled young man before it's too late.

It's time for family and friends and his employer, the 49ers, to step in with requests for Aldon to seek professional help, to get counseling or enter rehabilitation, before they are left to wonder if they could have done anything more to prevent the tragedy sure to come.

Before Aldon is left to wonder what happened to his career, if not his life.

Smith has not yet seriously hurt himself or anybody else, as far as we know, but the All-Pro linebacker is hurtling wildly and erratically toward serious and lasting damage.

San Jose police released the booking mugshot of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, arrested on Sept. 20 on suspicion of DUI.
San Jose police released the booking mugshot of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, arrested on Sept. 20 on suspicion of DUI. ( San Jose Police Department )

His latest contact with the law came at 7 a.m. Friday morning after he apparently drove his truck into a tree in San Jose. Cops responded and gave Smith a breathalyzer test, which registered his blood-alcohol content at .15, almost twice the legal limit. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana without prescription.

This is the fourth disturbing public incident in 20 months involving Smith, sounding the alarm of a 23-year-old whose life is in crisis. Yet the 49ers, delighted with Aldon's ability to rush the passer, seem to be stuffing their fingers in their collective ears.

If coach Jim Harbaugh's comments on Friday are any indication, the 49ers don't seem inclined to respond to Smith's latest cry for help. No indication of a benching, much less any kind of suspension. No message at all, except to keep the focus on football.

``I expect Aldon to be back at work and playing on Sunday,'' Harbaugh told reporters.

In short, the coach wants the team's 2011 No. 1 draft pick and 2012 MVP to suit up and play against the Colts on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

Within hours of his arrest, Aldon was released on bail and jogging out onto the practice field in Santa Clara to warm up with his teammates.

Maybe the 49ers are consulting with the NFL office, where commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to suspend Smith before Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Harbaugh said Smith will face consequences, likely determined by the league.

Harbaugh implied that any discipline must come from the league. That's not true. A team can act on its own behalf. The 49ers did exactly that last season when they suspended disgruntled running back Brandon Jacobs. They never provided a reason, though it was believed to be related to Jacobs turning to social media sites to gripe about his role.

Wouldn't Smith's situation seem to be far more serious? Given his history, this ought to cause some serious unease within the 49ers franchise.

In January 2012, Smith was arrested in Miami on suspicion of DUI; the charge was reduced to reckless driving after a plea agreement. In June 2012, he was stabbed during a party at his home; he could be prosecuted for possession of illegal assault weapons stemming from that evening. In September 2012, he sustained minor injuries in a single-car accident near his East San Jose home.

Smith's tendency to find trouble has progressed from trend to pattern. It's too much to ask him to solve it on his own, in his spare time — to chase the quarterback on Sunday and then, maybe, start sorting out his life on Monday.

If Harbaugh is willing to let Smith play, it must be assumed general manager Trent Baalke is in agreement. Isn't there any 49ers executive, possibly CEO Jed York, who is willing to hold Smith accountable?

Somebody, anybody, needs to step in. Or else, we risk creating another Lawrence Taylor, a Hall of Fame talent who was blessed with uncommon athletic gifts but lacked the capacity for sound judgment. L.T. has spent his entire adult life tossing himself between the heights of athletic glory and the gutter of utter self-destruction.

The 49ers need to be proactive, sit Aldon and give him time to think about what he has done — not just on Friday but over the past two years. That would demonstrate, if nothing else, a realization of the magnitude and depth of his issues.

Smith's family and friends and employers should be more concerned for the man than the football player, treating him not only as a great athlete but also as a human being in need. Treat him as former Warriors coach Don Nelson treated a substance-abusing Chris Mullin more than a quarter-century ago.

Get help. It just might save Smith's life, and perhaps the lives of his potential victims.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/1montepoole.