It's a game changer for the 49ers. Aldon Smith took to the field today, but it's the last fans will see of him for awhile. He's taking a leave of absence. CSN Bay Area's Henry Wooford has the latest.
Aldon Smith, who was arrested Friday morning in San Jose on suspicion of DUI and possession of marijuana, will not make the 49ers' trip to St. Louis for Thursday's game against the Rams, according to 49ers CEO Jed York.
York said Smith will be away from the team "indefinitely." This is a departure from Friday's decision, where team coach Jim Harbaugh said Smith would play at Sunday's game, which the 49ers lost, 27-7 to Indianapolis.
Right after the game, Smith addressed the media with a prepared statement.
"I will do everything in my power to make sure this never happens again," said Smith, who made five tackles against the Colts. "I also want to let everyone know that I'm sorry."
York did not use the word "suspension" when talking about Smith's punishment or detail what the exact plan is for the All-Pro linebacker. He said general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh consulted with him on the appropriate punishment and addressed the decision to allow Smith to play against the Colts.
"Sitting somebody down and paying them to sit down when they are going to seek treatment in the future. That didn't seem like an appropriate punishment," York said."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. And I realize people might not agree with that decision, but that was the decision that we felt was best."
The 23-year-old All-Pro player has been mired in trouble lately and Sunday night marked his first public comments addressing them.
He was arrested Friday at 7 a.m. in San Jose's Silver Creek neighborhood, with police saying he was "over the limit" when his pickup crashed into a tree and he was found to have marijuana inside the truck. That comes after another DUI arrest in Miami Beach two years ago, which was reduced to reckless driving.
He is also the center of two civil lawsuits, where two guests allege he is responsible for their injuries when they were caught in gunfire at a party he was co-hosting got wild. The suit claims he was firing "illegally possessed guns" at the party. His attorney denies those claims.