49ers linebacker Aldon Smith hit with nine-game suspension

By Kyle Johnson,

The wait is finally over for the San Francisco 49ers, who learned on Friday how long the team will have to go without linebacker Aldon Smith. Their leading pass rusher was suspended for nine game.

Smith was slapped with the lengthy suspension following violations to the NFL's substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies, ESPN reports.

"Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team," Trent Baalke, 49ers general manager, said in a statement. "Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally."

According to USA Today, the 24-year-old had several off the field problems, including allegedly making a bomb threat. While he was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport for his comments, he was never charged.

Smith also faced three felony charges for possession of illegal assault rifles and a misdemeanor DUI - which was reduced to reckless driving after he entered a diversion program. After pleading no contest back in May, he was sentenced to three years of probation, 235 hours of community service and had to be part of a sheriff's work crew for 11 Mondays.

After the DUI arrest, Smith voluntarily missed five games so he could check into a substance-abuse program.

The 49er will be eligible to be reinstated to the team's active roster on Nov. 10. San Francisco will miss the former first-round draft pick, who has racked up 42 sacks in his 43-game career.

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