On the day Aldon Smith signed a one-year deal with the Raiders, the former 49ers linebacker was charged with three crimes stemming from an incident last month in Santa Clara.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office charged Smith with three misdemeanors: DUI with prior conviction and refusal to submit to chemical test, hit and run with property damage, and vandalism. He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 6.
The Raiders have added one of the best young pass rushers in the league, but Smith, 25, has been arrested five times since entering the NFL in 2011.
“We are confident that the Raiders provide an environment where Aldon can thrive through the support, structure and leadership within the building,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. “We are excited to have Aldon here in the Raiders family.”
44 Number of sacks for Aldon Smith in 50 NFL games
Smith has 44 sacks in 50 NFL games, and the Raiders needed an upgrade for their pass rush after a franchise-low 22 sacks last season.
“Aldon is an extremely talented young player,” coach Jack Del Rio told The Associated Press. “We … expect him to bring his best every day and be a great teammate.”
Smith practiced with the Raiders on Friday, wearing the No. 99 he wore with the 49ers. The NFL still is investigating the latest incident involving Smith, and he likely faces discipline. However, he is free to play until the review is complete and could suit up Sunday against Cincinnati.
The NFL Network reported the Rams, Buccaneers and Jaguars also were interested in signing Smith, who was a free agent for more than a month before signing with the Raiders.
Smith was dismissed by the 49ers after his Aug. 6 arrest, his third since January 2012. The 49ers repeatedly stood by Smith despite a string of incidents – including a stabbing, a rollover car accident and an alleged bomb threat at LAX – but concluded they had to part ways after the latest issue. The bomb threat charges were dropped. The most recent incident was at an apartment complex in Santa Clara two miles from the 49ers’ practice facility.
I’m all about Aldon. Whatever is best for him. He’s my friend. He was my teammate.
NaVorro Bowman, 49ers linebacker
He missed six weeks of the season in 2013 when he checked into an alcohol treatment facility following a DUI arrest in September of that year. He was suspended another nine games last season.
Smith’s former teammates and coaches in San Francisco said they were happy to see him get another chance, but they also struck a cautionary tone.
“I’m all about Aldon,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “Whatever is best for him. He’s my friend. He was my teammate. Whatever is best for him. He’s got his family to take care of and that’s dependent on him. ... I’m excited for him to have another opportunity to go out there and play this game that he loves. Hopefully he realizes the opportunity that he has and stays on track.”
Said defensive coordinator Eric Mangini: “I’m really happy for him and cheering for him to do great things.”
General manager Trent Baalke, who was particularly close to Smith, said last month the 49ers hoped to help Smith even though he no longer was with the team.
There has been speculation the 49ers would like to bring Smith back in 2016 if he remains trouble free, something that’s still possible with a one-year contract in Oakland. He is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.