San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith gets nine-game suspension

After the NFL admitted it went too light on Baltimore running back Ray Rice with its punishment, you didn't want to be the next major name up for suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell.

Stinks for you, Aldon Smith.

Smith, the 49ers' outside linebacker and best pass rusher, was given a harsh nine-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy and its substance abuse policy, a big blow that will affect a San Francisco team with Super Bowl hopes. It's possible the 49ers could be without All-Pro players Smith and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who is coming back from a serious knee injury, for the first half of the season.

Smith isn't eligible to return until Nov. 10.

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Smith had multiple incidents that forced the NFL to take action. He was sentenced to 12 days in jail for separate weapons (which were originally felonies but dropped to misdemeanors) and DUI charges. He also made a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport in April, although he wasn't charged in that incident. Smith missed five games last season after he checked into a substance abuse rehab facility following his DUI.

Smith is one of the NFL's most talented players, with 42 sacks in 43 career games including 19.5 sacks in 2012 as the 49ers went to the Super Bowl. The 49ers will at least have him back for the final push before the playoffs.

One has to wonder if the team will even be in position to win the tough NFC West without Smith and Bowman for a couple months.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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