SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers released linebacker Aldon Smith on Friday after his latest run-in with the law.
The move came less than 24 hours after the linebacker was arrested in Santa Clara and accused of drunken driving, hit and run and vandalism.
The decision comes just two days after general manager Trent Baalke said the team would like to keep him beyond this season.
Smith was released from jail Friday morning after being arrested Thursday night.
"This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues," a 49ers statement read. "Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue.”
Smith denied he was driving under the influence during a brief interview with a local television station.
"Justice will be served, the truth will come out," Smith told KTVU Fox 2 as he walked out of jail. "There's no DUI. I'm sorry for the way this whole thing — I want everybody to understand the situation that happened could have been handled differently."
It's the fourth time Smith has been arrested since San Francisco drafted him seventh overall in 2011.
Police didn't release further details, saying they would provide more information later Friday.
Smith, who when at his best is one of the game's top pass-rushers, is entering a contract year after missing the first nine games of 2014 serving an NFL suspension for violations of the league's substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.
Baalke on Tuesday night said the 49ers would like to keep Smith.
"He knows where we stand and my understanding is he would love to be here, and we would certainly love to keep him here," Baalke said.
In spring 2014, the 49ers exercised their 2015 option for Smith, but Baalke made it clear they would be no-nonsense regarding his off-field issues. Then this past March, Smith restructured his contract into a more incentive-laden, team-friendly deal that gives the 49ers room if he were to get in legal trouble again.
He has a base salary of $1 million then hits roster bonuses each month that could take him to an additional $3,354,875. There's an additional $500,000 in workout bonuses.
The 25-year-old Smith missed time during the 2013 season to undergo treatment at an inpatient facility following his DUI arrest on Sept. 20, 2013. That 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.
Smith was arrested on April 13, 2014, at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became unco-operative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb. No charges were filed.
During Tuesday's first padded practice, Baalke chatted briefly with Smith then offered a fist bump.
"Aldon's like any young player, he's growing up, he's maturing. You see that with a lot of these guys," Baalke said. "Some of them get themselves in a few more situations that you wish they didn't. If you asked them, I think they'd say the same thing. Really pleased with the way he's handled things, the way he's working both personally and professionally. I think he's doing an outstanding job. He's always been a great teammate. He's always had an excellent work ethic."