Aldon Smith enters rehab for substance abuse, health

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Aldon Smith enters rehab for substance abuse, health

SANTA CLARA, California - The San Francisco 49ers are prepared to go forward without linebacker Aldon Smith for as long as it takes for him to get clean, healthy and improve his life.

Smith was placed on the reserve non-football injury list Monday as he enters rehab for substance abuse and begins what team CEO Jed York has termed an indefinite absence.

“I am taking a leave of absence to address my health,” Smith said through the 49ers. “I am sorry that I have affected my team, my family and the organization. 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.”

The NFL said there is no minimum number of games Smith must miss on the reserve non-football injury list, and he can return when ready.

On whether he expects Smith to return this season, coach Jim Harbaugh said only, “there’s a process, we’re going to respect that process.”

Smith played Sunday and had five tackles just two days after he was arrested and jailed Friday morning on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. Smith apologized after the 27-7 home loss to the Colts, and now his team moves forward without him, heading to St. Louis on Thursday.

“We’re very supportive of Aldon as we are of all of our players, all of our coaches, our personnel. Always support it in house,” Harbaugh said. “We have a pretty good idea what we’re going to do and we’ll make that announcement,” Harbaugh said.

Smith had previously been arrested on suspicion of DUI in January 2012 in Miami shortly after the 49ers lost in the NFC championship game. He is expected to remain in the Bay Area for treatment.

He could face a suspension from the NFL either later this season or next season, and it is likely given he has had more than one infraction. The NFL would let the legal process play itself out first.AP

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