49ers plough on as Aldon Smith enters rehab
“I am taking a leave of absence to address my health. I am sorry that I have affected my team, my family and the organization,” said Smith regarding his position. “I will do everything in my power to handle this situation the best way possible. I appreciate the support of the 49ers and our fans.”
When asked Smith would come back for the season, head coach Jim Harbaugh said “there’s a process, we’re going to respect that process.”
The NFL on the other side confirmed that there is no limit on games that Smith may miss while on the reserve non-football injury list before being ready to come back.
Two days prior to his arrest, Smith played Sunday scoring five tackles. On Friday morning, he was arrested and sent to jail on charges of marijuana possession and Driving Under Influence (DUI)). Smith made an apology for the humiliating loss to Colts and the team is going forward in his absence.
The team was supportive of his initiative to get clean and come back changed. Coach Harbaugh was no different saying “We’re very supportive of Aldon as we are of all of our players, all of our coaches, our personnel,” he said. “Always support it in house. We’ve hashed through it, now we’re taking steps and Aldon’s taking steps. We support him in that.”
The 49ers did not give a direct to who would be replacing him and what would be the roster changes, although Harbaugh was confident, saying “We have a pretty good idea what we’re going to do and we’ll make that announcement.”
Smith has a record for this sort of behavior and previously arrested under suspected DUI in Miami in January 2012 after the 49ers blew their chance at NFC championship game. It is unconfirmed but very likely that he will receive treatment somewhere in the Bay Area.
Under the current situation, he could easily get a string of suspensions from the NFL directly or later during the season as he may have breached multiple terms. But the NFL mostly lets the legal processes resolve themselves first before stepping in to deal with the players.