SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers have been preparing for months to play on without Aldon Smith over an extended period.
Now they know the exact timeframe: He is suspended for more than half the season.
The star linebacker received his nine-game penalty from the league Friday stemming from a series of off-field legal issues.
A statement from the NFL said Smith had violated the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies.
Smith won’t be eligible to return until Nov. 10, the day after the 49ers’ game against the New Orleans Saints.
“Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”
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.
It was unclear whether Commissioner Roger Goodell would consider that absence toward time served.
Team releases Green-Ellis: The Bengals released running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Friday, a move that was anticipated after they drafted LSU’s Jeremy Hill in the second round.
Green-Ellis was Cincinnati’s leading rusher each of the last two seasons. His role was reduced last year when Giovani Bernard was added to the backfield. Green-Ellis ran for 756 yards and a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. He was entering the final year on his contract.
The Bengals wanted another pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Hill carried 20 times for 90 yards and caught a team-high six passes for 70 yards during a 35-7 preseason win over Indianapolis on Thursday.
K Barth cut loose: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released Connor Barth, the most accurate kicker in franchise history.
An 84 percent career field goal kicker in five NFL seasons with Kansas City and the Bucs, Barth missed all of 2013 after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right foot during a charity basketball game.
The Bucs announced the move Friday, when defensive end Larry English and offensive lineman Jamon Meredith also were released to begin the task of trimming the roster to the 53-man limit. The team waived 11 other players, leaving coach Lovie Smith to make eight more cuts by 3 p.m. Saturday.
P Moorman, QB Palmer gone: Veteran punter Brian Moorman is out for a second time in Buffalo. And backup quarterback Jordan Palmer’s stint with the Bills barely lasted four days.
The two were among 10 players cut Friday, a day after the Bills closed the preseason with a 23-0 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Moorman is a 13-year NFL veteran who spent 12 seasons in Buffalo. After being cut by the team in 2012, he re-signed with the Bills last October. He struggled this preseason, averaging 40.25 yards.
Palmer had an even worse outing against Detroit in his Bills debut. The fifth-year player went 9 of 22 for 73 yards and three interceptions after being cut by the Bears last weekend and signed by Buffalo on Tuesday.
Team cuts C Brewster, S Loston: Jaguars center Mike Brewster went from the starter to the street in a matter of weeks.
The Jaguars waived Brewster, third-string quarterback Ricky Stanzi and others Friday — one day before the NFL’s deadline for reducing rosters to 53 players.
The team also cut former LSU safety Craig Loston among others.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Other cuts included Colts LB Pat Angerer, Falcons LB Yawin Smallwood, Falcons WR Freddie Martino and Chicago RB Jordan Lynch, a former Heisman trophy finalist as a QB at Northern Illinois.