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NFL notebook: 49ers release OLB Smith after arrest

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The Sports Xchange

The San Francisco 49ers released outside linebacker Aldon Smith on Friday after his arrest Thursday night by Santa Clara, Calif., police on hit-and-run, DUI and vandalism charges.

“This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues. Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue,” the team said in a statement.

General manager Trent Baalke met with Smith after he was released from jail Friday morning. When Smith refused to take responsibility for being arrested, the decision was made to release him, a team source told ESPN’s Jim Trotter.

An emotional head coach Jim Tomsula addressed the media shortly after the team’s decision, pleading to those with alcohol problems to get help.

“It’s a sad day,” the first-year 49ers coach said at a news conference. “We’re not worried about football. This has nothing to do with football. … If one person out there reads this and you’re struggling, get help. Go get it. You’re worth it. We value every human being. Get the help. You don’t have to walk alone. Find it. It’s there.

“Although Aldon will not be playing football here, he will be supported. He will not be alone. … We saw a man fighting, working and trying. … Once again, real life, everyone has struggles. They’re just in different ways. … From our perspective, from him, we need the things that need to be addressed with 100 percent of everything he has.”

The Santa Clara Police Department said the 25-year-old Smith was booked and released with a bail of $26,000. Smith is expected to appear in court on Oct. 6.

After being released from jail Friday, Smith denied that he had been driving drunk.

“The people who are faithful remain faithful,” Smith told ABC7 in San Francisco. “Simple as this: Justice will be served, the truth will come out, there’s no DUI. I’m sorry for anybody I let down, I’m sorry for the way this whole thing. … I need to speak and I want everybody to understand, this wasn’t a DUI, the situation I had could have been handled differently and I apologize for everybody I did let down and I apologize for how it all played out. But as far as everything is concerned, it will work out the way it’s supposed to work out. That’s all.”

Smith served a nine-game suspension last season for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy and substances of abuse. In 2013 he was suspended five games after a DUI arrest and voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility.

Smith received a 12-day sentence and three years of probation in July after a no-contest plea to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor DUI charges. The weapons charges and one of the DUI charges were in connection to a 2012 party at Smith’s residence where he was stabbed.

Smith has 44 sacks in the 50 games he has played since the 49ers selected him with the No. 7 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

—Houston Texans running back Arian Foster underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a groin muscle that was torn off the bone, according to ESPN.com.

There is optimism that Foster may only miss four to six weeks of playing time instead of two to three months as previously estimated, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Foster went to Philadelphia for a second opinion with Dr. William Meyers, a sports hernia specialist who conducted the procedure.

Foster likely will be placed on injured reserve-designated to return, which would allow the Texans to bring him back to practices in the sixth week of the regular season and in games after the eighth week. The earliest the Texans can make that move is Sept. 6.

Foster suffered the injury when he pulled up with a limp during a pass play Monday night during the Texans’ first fully padded training camp practice.

—New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner, scheduled to undergo surgery on his right wrist, is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The 5-foot-11, 201-pound Milliner injured a tendon in his wrist during Thursday’s practice.

Milliner, who suffered an Achilles injury last October, recently returned to team activities in training camp. A first-round selection of the Jets (No. 9 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Alabama product has started 14 regular-season games, totaling three interceptions and 21 passes defended.

Safety Antonio Allen tore an Achilles tendon in Thursday’s practice and will miss the season. The Jets placed Allen on the waived/injured list Friday, but he could go on the injured reserve list if he clears waivers. With the roster space, the Jets signed cornerback Keon Lyn.

—Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is expected to sit out for about two weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in practice Friday.

Jackson, the league’s oldest running back at age 34, had been splitting first-team plays with new starter LeSean McCoy, who has been bothered by a sore toe.

—The Arizona Cardinals re-signed center Lyle Sendlein, who started the last seven years for the team.

Sendlein was cut during the offseason in a cost-cutting move. He was due to make $3 million in 2015 but declined to take the pay cut offered by the team.

The Cardinals also re-signed wide receiver Travis Harvey on Friday, signed guard Nate Isles and released quarterback Chandler Harnish.

—The NFL will play five regular-season games — one per season — in Mexico starting in 2017 or 2018, according to a report from the Spanish news organization AS.com.

Games in Mexico would add to the NFL’s slate of international series contests being played in London. Two teams have played at least one regular-season game at Wembley Stadium since 2007.

The NFL recently said it was looking to play more international games and considering potential sites in Germany, Mexico and Brazil.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora told Pro Football Talk on Friday that the report was at least “premature.”

—The 49ers moved a practice scheduled at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday because of concerns about the playing conditions on the grass field.

The practice that was open to the public now will be held at the team’s regular practice facility, which is next door to the stadium, the team announced Thursday night. However, fans cannot attend and another open session for the fans will not be rescheduled.

Grass problems have been an issue since the $1.3 billion stadium opened last year.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers placed defensive end Clifton Geathers on injured reserve and signed rookie defensive tackle Joe Okafor.

Geathers was signed by the Steelers late in the 2014 season to replace injured Brett Keisel, but Geathers did not play in any games.

—Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker sustained a cut on his left thumb during Thursday’s practice that required 12 stitches.

Walker said he is fine after colliding with safety Da’Norris Searcy on a pass play over the middle on a ball thrown by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. But Walker was scheduled to have the hand checked by a specialist.

—The Atlanta Falcons signed running back Michael Ford and tight end DJ Tialavea.

The team also waived tight end Beau Gardner and wide receiver Freddie Martino.

—The Indianapolis Colts signed undrafted free agent guard Kitt O’Brien and waived guard Ben Heenan after reaching an injury settlement.

—The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles will hold joint practices in Philadelphia from Aug. 19-21, the teams announced Friday.

The practice sessions lead into the second preseason game. The Ravens and Eagles play at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 22.


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