From a financial standpoint, things could have been worse for All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith -- although it may cost him in the long run. [Smith] will continue to receive his full salary from the 49ers for the duration of the time he remains away from the team, sources confirmed to CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday. Smith, who entered in-patient treatment for substance abuse this week, has a base salary of $1.68 million this season. The 49ers will pay him his weekly salary of $98,978 during his leave of absence. ... Smith is likely to face a suspension without pay or fine from the NFL after his latest incident is adjudicated. ... Next season, Smith is scheduled to make $2.336 million. Any suspension in 2014 would cost Smith more than $137,000 per week. (CSN Bay Area) Comment
It seems the news outside the program moves the needle more than it does on the inside. In the opinion of Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, the NCAA's decision to restore football scholarships to the program was "definitely good news" and "important to us." But that was about as philosophical as he was going to get. "To be honest, the players, they're not really looking into it too much," Ficken said Wednesday. "That's more of an administration thing, a coach thing. So it's big news but we're players here. We're not interpreters of what's happening. So we're going to go out there and try to win games for this university." ... Penn State will get a full complement of 25 scholarships for the freshman class starting in 2015, and the maximum 85 scholarship players from 2016 on. (Philadelphia Daily News) Comment
Hovering over the opening of Lakers camp is the question of Kobe Bryant's health. The All-Star guard is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, suffered on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors. "I do believe that he'll get back and he'll play this season. You won't be able to look at him and say he's hurt," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said at the team's practice facility in El Segundo on Wednesday. ... Kupchak did note he wasn't especially comfortable with Bryant's high dive, video of which he posted on Vine. "Not great judgment," admonished Kupchak. "He got out of the water and he looked like he was healthy, so I felt good. That was not great judgment." Bryant has been headstrong since the Lakers drafted him in 1996. (Los Angeles Times) Comment
The Brewers' Carlos Gomez and the Braves' Reed Johnson come to blows after the Braves took exception to Gomez watching his first-inning home run. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)
The MMQB contributor Andrew Brandt discusses whether there is a trade market for Bucs QB Josh Freeman.