SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith expects to sit down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "in the near future" to discuss any potential suspension for his off-field issues.
Smith, a former Missouri defensive end, was sentenced last Friday to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges. Smith said he hasn't had time to begin the work yet, and will do so as his time permits.
Of the ruling, Smith said he is "glad how it worked out." He didn't want to guess whether he would face a suspension from the league, and said he is unsure whether Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game penalty Thursday for his offseason arrest for domestic violence provides any indication.
"I'm glad it's behind me. I'm ready to move on. ... I've never been in this situation so I'm not going to speculate," Smith said of possible punishment. "I know I'm meeting with him in the near future — as soon as possible. We don't have a solid date, so I'm not sure."
Smith said he has been sober since entering rehab last year following his Sept. 20 DUI arrest. He underwent treatment at an in-patient facility and missed five games. Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Thursday whether he thought the NFL might take the rehab stint into account as time served.
"There's accountability for some mistakes made, and also he's been given the opportunity to do what he says he's going to do. So far, he's doing that," Harbaugh said. "That's in their hands. They will discipline if they warrant it."
For Smith, he hopes 2014 is a fresh start — and he insists he is in the best shape ever entering his fourth NFL season.
In his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said the 24-year-old Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb.
In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home. Investigators said several shots were fired, two partygoers were injured and Smith was stabbed. In the subsequent investigation, prosecutors say detectives found five unregistered, illegal weapons in Smith's house.
Smith emerged as one of the league's most-feared pass rushers in 2012. He had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks that year but failed to record a sack in his final six games, including the team's postseason Super Bowl run.
Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games and eight starts last season. His 42 sacks are second-most in the NFL since he entered the league.
Harbaugh, for one, is only thinking about another year and another opportunity for success after three straight seasons coming oh so close. The 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 Super Bowl and to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game in January.
"It's like it's your own birthday. It's a family reunion. It's like a rebirth, feel like you come out of the womb and reborn into football," Harbaugh said in his first news conference at new Levi's Stadium. "Our team is the least unhappy team I've ever been around."