Smith will seek treatment for substance abuse, miss Rams game

Smith: 'This is a problem and something I will get fixed'

Smith will seek treatment for substance abuse, miss Rams game
September 22, 2013, 4:45 pm
Share This Post
I believe Aldon wants to tackle this problem, and we're going to do everything we can to help him with this.
Jed York

SAN FRANCISCO -- All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith will be out indefinitely as he seeks treatment for substance abuse, sources said.

Smith, the 49ers' MVP last season, will not play Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams.

He issued the following statement after Sunday's loss to the Colts:

"First off, I wanted to apologize, you know, to the team, the organization, my family, everybody I let down. I also wanted to let it be known that, you know, this is a problem and it's something that I will get fixed and I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this never happens again. I also wanted to let everybody know that, you know, once again I'm sorry and like I said this won't happen again."

Team CEO Jed York said Smith has the full support of the organization "as long as he supports himself."

"I believe Aldon wants to tackle this problem, and we're going to do everything we can to help him with this," York said.

Smith played Sunday in the 49ers' 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.


Smith started and played all but one defensive snap on Sunday. When asked why Smith played, York said, "Our opinion was sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they're going to seek treatment in the future didn't seem like the appropriate punishment.

"I know it might not sound reasonable, but for Aldon to be able to face the media, face his teammates and take full responsibility for what he's 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."

Said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, "It was a decision that we made as an organization. As a team, we felt it was in the best interest of our team and for Aldon long-term."

Smith, 23, was booked into Santa Clara County jail on Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. He posted $5,250 in bond for his release and was on the practice field Friday afternoon within hours of his 7 a.m. arrest.

Smith will take an indefinite leave of absence, during which time the 49ers can be expected to place him on the non-football illness list. York said there is no timetable for Smith's return to the field.

Smith emerged into a star after the 49ers selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Smith's 33.5 sacks through two seasons is the most for any player through two seasons since the NFL began recognizing the sack as an official statistic in 1982. Smith, who recorded five tackles on Sunday, leads the 49ers with 3.5 sacks this season.