Circle April 29 as the newest most important day in Aldon Smith's life and career.

A real-life day, when he won't be excused instantly and his messier actions won't be rationalized just because he can rush the quarterback.

April 29 could be the day Smith's relative immunity finally runs out and the moment the 49ers realize--too late--that they let this go on for far too long.

That's when the troubled linebacker is scheduled to appear before a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on DUI and weapons charges.

This is apparently scheduled as a procedural hearing to move the Smith cases along the docket.

Maybe nothing newsworthy will happen. That's always possible, because the legal process always has its own calendar.

But, in the wake of Smith's detainment at LAX on Sunday for making a false bomb claim, the April 29 hearing could take on a larger significance, I'm told.

Why would the judge and prosecutors feel the need to extend Smith any further leniency if he continues to get himself into so much deep trouble?

They might believe that this is finally the time for the opposite of leniency in all relevant Smith judgments.

Further along, Smith could be suspended by the NFL for the series of incidents, which may or may not ever end.

And all of that also could push this towards a larger reckoning for the 49ers franchise, as a whole.


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In fact, I believe 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke are reaching a tipping point after the flood of arrests and investigations involving their players in recent months.

They either take action to weed out their most embarrassing characters, or they do nothing and let it all spin further out of control.

By the way, that second option isn't really an option for sane executives and franchises that care about their roles in communities.

That doesn't mean the 49ers won't keep supporting their players; I would expect York, Baalke and Jim Harbaugh to remain steadfastly behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick through the Miami police investigation of the confusing "suspicious incident" earlier this month.

49ers management might even give another chance to cornerback Chris Culliver, who is facing felony and misdemeanor charges after an alleged hit-and-run.

They're in this to win games and sometimes you have to work on the margins in order to match up the strongest against the Seattle Seahawks.

But at some point, York and Baalke have to prove they understand that true leaders draw the line, and that should've started with Smith long ago.

They're the ones who let Smith play against Indianapolis last season, only two days after his DUI arrest, and a few days before he entered a treatment center.

They're the ones who rushed him back into the line-up almost immediately after he left the rehab center and told themselves that the best thing for Smith was to let him get what he wanted.

Which was to play.

They're the ones who decided that they desperately wanted Smith to keep playing and then figured out how they were going to get to that point.

So Baalke and York doubled and tripled their bet on Smith last year, and for a while it paid off.

The 49ers were 5-0 without Smith last season, but that was against some weaker competition and he was at All-Pro form heading into the playoffs.

Harbaugh even held Smith up as an example back in January.

"I mean, all of us who tend to point the finger at somebody else and say, 'Look where they took a misstep'," Harbaugh told me, comparing Smith's DUI to Harbaugh's own DUI arrest in 2005.

"We think of ourselves as very smart, but how did we get to that point? Because we learned from our mistakes. We all get smart by learning from our mistakes."

Then, a few months later, another huge mistake by Smith, it seems.

But Harbaugh isn't the moral and ethical leader of the 49ers, he's the head coach, paid to win football games, period, and let management deal with everything else.

York and Baalke are the franchise's leaders and the ones who have let this situation go on to this point.

Now is the reckoning, it seems, for their headlong pursuit of victory and their rationalizations and excuses. They will have to make a call, eventually, and I think York and Baalke know it.

They've reached that point, not voluntarily, but they should've seen it coming back in September, really.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.