San Francisco, CA
Following his DUI arrest this week, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has entered a facility to undergo rehabilitation from alcohol abuse, a league source said.
The source said the facility is independent of the 49ers, a requirement important to the NFLPA because it wants to ensure that Smith is treated as a person and not as a player.
The NFL also said it doesn't want Smith's return date to the 49ers to be a factor in determining when he will be finished with treatment.
The source added that Smith's top priority should be his recovery, not his return to the 49ers.
The 24-year-old has been arrested twice for suspicion of driving under the influence. He received required counseling for alcohol abuse following his first DUI.
The 49ers placed Smith on the non-football illness list Monday, three days after he was arrested again.
If convicted, he faces an automatic two-game suspension for multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policy
After playing in Sunday's 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Smith apologized to his teammates, and team CEO Jed York said the linebacker was leaving the 49ers indefinitely.
"I am taking a leave of absence to address my health," Smith said in a statement released by the team. "I am sorry that I have affected my team, my family and the organization.
"I will do everything in my power to handle this situation the best way possible. I appreciate the support of the 49ers and our fans," he added.