49ers’ Aldon Smith admits he has a problem…getting caught

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Aldon Smith #99 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Forty Niners released Aldon Smith Friday after the All-Pro linebacker was arrested on suspicion of his 3rd DUI Thursday night. Smith was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of hit-and-run, driving under the influence and vandalism, police said Friday.

Forty Niners CEO Jed York said third-year All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith will seek treatment and will not be with the team when it visits the Rams on Thursday in St. Louis.

Smith confirmed this Monday. Though it was presumed treatment will be for a substance abuse problem, Smith decried that assumption.

“I don’t have a problem with drinking or drinking and driving or shooting at people,” he said. “In fact, I’m pretty good at it.

“What I have a problem with is …getting caught.”

Indeed Smith, 23, was arrested at 7:02 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20 for suspicion of DUI after his truck decleated a tree in a residential neighborhood in San Jose.

Smith was also arrested for DUI in January 2012 and stabbed at a party at his house 15 months ago. He retaliated the stabbing by shooting a bunch of guns at party goers as they were leaving. Some of the bullets tore through an acquaintance’s leg, leaving him disabled. Smith is facing a civil suit on the shooting.

“Again, I do bad things, but so do most guys in the league under 25,” he said. “What I have to work on is a) not getting caught b) paying off my entourage a little better to take the fall and c) hiring a better fixer.”

Team officials agree.

“I’ll support our players boozing, shooting, bangin’ hoes on the road, whatever,” York said. “That’s who we are as an organization. That’s what the NFL is. We support Aldon in these endeavors and we will stand by him as long as he’s able to say, ‘you know what, I have a problem here. I keep getting caught and that has to stop’.”

Smith addressed reporters after the 49ers’ 27-7 loss to the Colts at Candlestick Park Sunday.

“First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family, everybody I let down by getting caught so much,” Smith said. “I just wanted to let it be known that getting caught is a problem and it’s something I will get fixed. And I will do everything within my power to make sure this never happens again.”

York said he met with Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke regarding Smith’s playing status for Sunday. Smith didn’t miss a defensive snap, had five tackles and no sacks.

“Though his playing career is still relatively young he is a leader both on and off the field,” York said. “Our chief concern is the message we’re sending. We strive to say it’s OK to do bad things off the field, just be smart enough to keep your name out of the headlines. When you run your car into a tree at 7 a.m. the first call you need to make is to your agent. He’s got handlers in place who can pay a guy 40 bucks to be in that driver’s seat before the cops arrive. It’s not that difficult. We go through this drill at the beginning of every training camp. This is NFL football 101.”

Smith acknowledged this and said he will receive some comprehensive treatment on how not to get caught. He also acknowledged it’s the kids he feels he’s let down most.

“I want to be an example,” he said. “I want young fans to know that there’s a time for working hard on the field and there’s a time for relaxing off it and there are people in place that will help facilitate both. I haven’t been taking advantage of these resources and now my reputation is paying the price.”

Smith invoked Ray Lewis, who was implicated in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar on Jan. 31, 2000. After the incident, involving a broken champagne bottle as murder weapon, Lewis and his companions Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting were questioned by Atlanta police and 11 days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges.

Lewis’s attorneys negotiated a plea agreement where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting along with his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.

“I’ve learned from Ray that you can literally get away with murder in this league and come out on top if you make the right decisions and call the right people and talk a lot about Jesus,” Smith said. “This time, praise Jesus, I promise to come out of treatment and never get caught again.”

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