49ers Smith enters substance abuse rehab

September 23, 2013 6:11:56 PM PDT
Troubled San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon smith is now officially away from the team. The Niners placed Smith on the NFL's reserve non-football injury list Monday as he entered rehab for substance abuse. For how long -- no one is saying.

It all stems from his arrest last Friday on suspicion of drunk driving and marijuana possession. The nagging question for fans is will Smith be back this season. All 49ers coaches have said so far is that rehab is a process and they respect that process.

Harbaugh had two losses on his mind as he faced reporters Monday ? Sunday's loss and the loss of linebacker Smith, who is being put on a leave of absence when his talent is needed with Thursday's game fast approaching. "There's adversity. There's an opportunity to stare it in the face and whip it. That's our approach," Harbaugh said.

The 49ers organization is mum so far on what Smith's rehabilitation will entail. No one would say whether Smith will stay in the Bay Area or go back to Missouri to be near his parents. Step one of the process was Smith admitting his problem after Sunday's game.

"I just want to let it be known that this is a problem and something I will get fixed. And, I'll do everything in my power to make that this never happens again," Smith told reporters.

The Niners organization deflected criticism over playing Smith Sunday. "We're all meant to be able to face the media, face his teammates, and take full responsibility for what he's doing ,"49ers President Jed York said. "We felt that was the best situation for Aldon himself."

Adam Saucedo is a mental training consultant who works with athletes with issues similar to Aldon Smith's. He says it will take time.

"I think the first thing is just building their awareness, having them really understand what's going on in their lives, whether it be the people that are helping them out, what actions they're taking outside their performance that may be impacting their performance on the field," Saucedo explained.

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