SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Harbaugh stated Friday that 49ers All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith will pay the price for his latest run-in with the law.
But any discipline from the NFL is not likely to be administered until late in the season – or, more likely, next year. Harbaugh said he expects Smith to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Candlestick Park. Shortly after posting bail and being released from Santa Clara County jail, where he was being held on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, Smith took part in 49ers practice.
“That’s pretty exclusive to the league,” Harbaugh said about any potential suspension Smith could face. “They have exclusive rights to the consequences and there will be consequences. There always is. Good or bad, we all have consequences.”
Smith is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. at Santa Clara County Superior Court.
The only action the 49ers could take would be to deactivate Smith for Sunday’s game. However, they would have to still pay his weekly game check of nearly $99,000.
Last year, the 49ers suspended running back Brandon Jacobs for the final three games of the regular season for conduct detrimental to the team after he repeatedly criticized the coaching staff via social media. Ultimately, the 49ers had to pay Jacobs more than $111,000 for two of the three games during his suspension, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Jacobs was then released.
The most similar situation occurred last November when defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. The 49ers traveled that day to St. Louis, and Dobbs was not on the team flight.
The 49ers deactivated Dobbs for the game but still paid his weekly salary of more than $27,000. Dobbs was active for each of the 49ers’ first 11 games. He played primarily on special teams. The NFL finally suspended Dobbs for one game, without pay, to open this season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse.
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Smith is among the top pass-rushers in the NFL. Since the quarterback sack became an official statistic in 1982, Smith’s 33.5 sacks are the most through two seasons for any NFL player. Smith has gotten off to a strong start this season with 3.5 sacks in the 49ers’ first two games.
Last season, then-49ers outside linebacker Clark Haggans served a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on substances of abuse, stemming from an DUI arrest in April 2011 when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals. It was Haggans' second DUI arrest while an NFL player.
Aldon Smith was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Miami Beach in January 2012. That charge was reduced to reckless driving under a first-time offender program.