49ers' Smith offers apology after suspension

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Updated: 8/30 8:21 am

(SportsNetwork.com) - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith released a statement Saturday and apologized for his actions that led to a nine-game suspension.

The NFL penalized Smith for violations of both the substance-abuse policy and personal conduct policy. In July, Smith was sentenced to 11 days in jail and three years' probation on weapons and DUI charges.

"I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the entire 49ers organization and 49ers fans for not being able to contribute on the field for the next several weeks," Smith said in a statement released by the NFL Players Association.

"Over the last year, I have learned a lot and I'm working hard to grow from my experiences. I want to thank my family and friends, my teammates, my union and the 49ers for supporting me during this process. I will be at work daily to participate in all permitted work activities, and to support my teammates, just as they have supported me."

Smith can return for a Week 11 game against the New York Giants, as the 49ers have a Week 8 bye.

Since being selected with the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft, Smith has been one of the league's elite pass rushers. He has 42 sacks in just three seasons, but has also had numerous run-ins with the law.

Smith voluntarily took a leave of absence from the 49ers last year to seek help for a substance-abuse problem, missing five games.

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