|2013 Regular Season|
The 24-year-old Smith, one of the NFL's top pass rushers, missed five games last season to undergo treatment at an in-patient facility following his DUI arrest Sept. 20.
49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio also has no idea how long the team might be without Smith, and coach Jim Harbaugh has said the same. A multi-game suspension is conceivable, and Fangio is preparing the rest of the linebacking unit as if Smith might be gone for a prolonged period.
Prosecutors say Smith faces a range of possible sentences, from spending no time in custody to a maximum of four years and four months behind bars. Sentencing is set for July 25.
The team faced a Saturday deadline to decide on Smith's immediate future, and general manager Trent Baalke suggested last week the team would keep the fearsome pass-rusher around. The 49ers will provide Smith with the support he needs to deal with his rash of off-the-field issues. Yet Baalke has made it clear there must be positive change, and soon. San Francisco realizes Smith still could face a suspension from the NFL for his DUI last September.
Regarding a May 3 deadline whether to exercise Smith's 2015 contract option, Baalke gave all indications he hopes to have the menacing pass rusher in a Niners uniform well into the future.
The referral by county prosecutors was announced Thursday without elaboration. Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Airport police say the 24-year-old player was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb.
Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games last season, making eight starts. He missed the first five games of the season after taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment for substance abuse.