The NFL announced a nine-game suspension for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith. The suspension covers multiple issues, including violations of the substance abuse policy and the league's personal conduct policy. Smith will return to the 49ers on November 10.
According to a report from USA Today, Smith will be allowed at the team facilities and able to attend team meetings during the suspension after his representatives and the league came to a deal. The talks between the two sides concluded this week.
Smith has been arrested twice since January 2012 for DUI. In April, he was arrested for making a false bomb threat at the airport in Los Angeles, though he was never charged in the incident. He missed playing time in 2013 when he underwent substance-abuse treatment.
The nine-game suspension removes one of the top pass rushers in the league for over half the season, and will disrupt the defense for a team that has been to the last three NFC Championship games.
Smith's suspension comes among a rash of disciplinary actions for the league, including the suspensions of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for a year and two games for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic violence. Two Miami Dolphins players have also received suspensions, defensive end Dion Jordan and safety Reshad Jones were both suspended for four games for violations of the league's performance enhancing drug policy.
The league also recently updated their domestic violence policy, sending a letter to all NFL owners outlining new penalties for all personnel involved in the league. The first offense will result in a six game suspension without pay. A second domestic violence incident will result in a lifetime ban. The league was widely criticized for the relative leniency shown to Rice, who only received the two-game suspension, despite video showing him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of a hotel elevator.
Still pending for the league's action is discipline of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in March. Irsay had nearly $30,000 in cash and several prescription bottles in his car when he was stopped.
You can read more about the Aldon Smith suspension on Niners Nation.
[Update: 5:27pm ET, August 29]
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