The San Francisco 49ers are not expecting linebacker Aldon Smith to return to the team this season, reports ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Smith is on an indefinite leave of absence from the team while he undergoes treatment for substance abuse at an in-patient facility following a DUI arrest Sept. 20.
Smith is also facing three felony charges of illegal possession of an assault weapon in a case stemming from a 2012 party at his home.
According to Schefter, the 49ers believe Smith’s issues “run deep,” and that the 24-year-old has a lot of work to do on turning his life around before he can step back on the football field.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Smith had sent him a couple of text messages, and said the star linebacker is progressing well.
Smith is on the reserve non-football injury list while in rehab. He will likely be suspended by the NFL next season or after his legal issues are resolved.
Smith, selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, set a franchise record with 19.5 sacks last season.