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Aldon Smith to Take Indefinite Leave

Posted Sep 22, 2013

The 49ers outside linebacker and the team's CEO, Jed York, discussed the plan going forward.

Aldon Smith addressed the media in the aftermath of the 49ers 27-7 Week 3 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts.

Smith was arrested early Friday morning, but later returned to the team’s training facility to practice in the afternoon. The outside linebacker recorded five tackles, including one for loss on Sunday afternoon.

“First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family, everybody that I let down.” Smith said. “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.”

After Smith finished his comments, San Francisco CEO Jed York said that general manager and Jim Harbaugh came to the conclusion that it was in Smith’s best interest to play in Sunday's game.

“As an organization, we have talked to him. 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,” York said in the locker room. “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 (during Friday morning’s incident), Aldon included, and anybody else. We want to make sure that Aldon is never in a position like this again.”

To that end, York said that Smith, a Pro Bowler a season ago, would not play during the team’s Week 4 matchup in St. Louis. The 49ers are scheduled to face the Rams on Thursday. The owner said Smith’s absence would be “indefinite” and that there would be “no timetable” for his return.

Fellow 49ers players were encouraged to have Smith on the field on Sunday.

“He’s my teammate and a great teammate,” veteran running back Frank Gore said. “He’s helped this team a lot. And that’s coach’s decision. If the coaches say he can play, I’m behind that because I know he can help us win.”

York said “a lot of consideration” was given to not allowing Smith to be in uniform.

“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.”

The NFL has yet to publicly weigh in on Smith’s situation.

“We’re not trying to circumvent what the NFL will do,” York said, responding to a reporter’s question about whether a league punishment could be handed down. “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.”