SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU and wires) – Just days after San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said the team wanted to sign Aldon Smith to a long-term contract, the troubled star linebacker was back in jail early Friday and later cut from the team.
According to Santa Clara County Department of Corrections, Smith was booked into the county jail early Friday on charges that included DUI, hit-and-run and vandalism. He posted $26,000 bail and was released.
Now there are reports that it was spill over from an earlier fight he had with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Lt. Kurt Clarke told reporters Smith backed his SUV into another vehicle while he was attempting to park at his condo complex near Levi's Stadium around 8:46 p.m. Thursday. The NFL star reportedly exchanged words with the owner of the car and then left the scene.
When officers arrived, Smith returned and walked up to them. The officers determined he was under the influence, Clarke said.
Smith was given a field sobriety test and a breath test and taken into custody. Police did not release Smith's blood alcohol level. The vandalism charge, Clarke said, stemmed from Smith allegedly damaging the vehicle further with his door.
Outside of the jail, Smith denied the DUI charge.
"Justice will be served -- the truth will come out," he 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."
Now, there are published reports that the incident stemmed from a fight during practice on Tuesday between Smith and Kaepernick.
The altercation may have been over a woman known as "Nessa," a radio and TV host. She was Smith's girlfriend and now may be dating Kaepernick.
Police are not identifying the person who was in the damaged vehicle, nor would they say who it belongs to.
"We're parking and we saw a bunch of players standing in the next row around a big black truck in the next row and we thought that was kind of odd," said Robert Cook, who tells KTVU he lives next door to Smith.
Cook and his girlfriend Felice Farber say they didn't know what they had seen until they heard the news of Smith's arrest.
"A young guy with such talent throwing it away because he's been other trouble since 2012," said Felice Farber.
Smith missed time the previous 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 uncooperative with the process,
"I apologize to everyone I have let down. I apologize for how it all played out. It will work out how it is supposed to work out," he said.
However, the 49ers released a statement a short time later, saying the star linebacker had been cut from the team.
The statement read -- "This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues. Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern will continue."
Only a few days earlier, general manager Trent Baalke expressed is desire to keep Smith beyond this season, which would have been a contract year. Instead Friday, Baalke and 49ers first-year head coach Jim Tomsula met with Smith at team headquarters after he left jail to inform him he was no longer part of the team.
Tomsula spoke to reporters at a news conference late Friday morning.
"It's a sad day," Tomsula said with emotion in his voice. "This is a day that doesn't have anything to do about football."
The 49ers coach said Smith had been working on getting his off-field life together.
"He is the process of turning his life around," Tomsula said. "Sometimes people stumble."
Tomsula spoke to a couple of players but planned a team meeting Friday afternoon.
"Guys care about him, we care about that guy, deeply," he said, noting that the team would be offering Smith assistance despite him being released from the team.
With the retirements of Justin Smith, Chris Borland and Patrick Willis and the departure of Ray McDonald due to legal issues, Aldon Smith was expected to play an even greater role for the 49ers defense this season.
It was the 12th arrest of a 49ers player since 2012, the most in the NFL over that time span.
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.
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 is scheduled to be arraigned October 9 if the district attorney decides to press charges.