Troubled San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl outside linebacker Aldon Smith is going to in-patient rehab and will take an indefinite leave of absence days after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early Friday morning.
Smith played in the 49ers' 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, recording five tackles and no sacks.
“First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family, everybody that I let down.” Smith told reporters. “I also wanted to let it be known that this is a problem. It’s something I will get fixed, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that this never happens again. I also want to let everybody know that once again, I’m sorry, and, like I said, this won’t happen again.”
49ers CEO Jed York addressed Smith's situation.
“As an organization, we have talked to him,” York said. “We feel like there was no right decision, there was no right way to do it, but this was in our opinion the best way to do it. We’re going to support Aldon to the fullest as long as he is willing to support himself toward making things right.
“We are very fortunate that nobody got hurt, Aldon included, and anybody else. We want to make sure that Aldon is never in a position like this again.”
Smith will not play Thursday against the St. Louis Rams.
Why did the 49ers let him play Sunday?
“Our position was, sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they’re going to see treatment in the future, that didn’t seem like an appropriate punishment,” York said. “I know it might not seem reasonable, but for Aldon to be able to face the media, to face his teammates and take full responsibility for what he is doing, we felt that was the best situation for Aldon himself and for the team and ultimately the community at large. I realize people might not agree with that decision, but that was the decision we felt was best.”
Is NFL punishment coming?
“We’re not trying to circumvent what the NFL will do,” York said. “This is about making sure that Aldon has the opportunity to work on something, get better, and he knows that he has our support and hopefully he has everybody’s support in something that is going to be very difficult.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.