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49ers LB Smith pleads no contest

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Updated: 5/21 8:39 pm

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith pleaded no contest to three felony counts of possessing illegal assault rifles and two misdemeanors for driving under the influence.

Wednesday's plea came in Santa Clara County Superior Court, according to several media outlets.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced July 25, which is less than two weeks before the 49ers play their first preseason game. It's possible Smith could face up to four years and four months in prison.

It's the latest in a series of troubling news for Smith.

Last year, Smith took a leave of absence from the 49ers to seek help for a substance abuse problem. He left the team just days after a Sept. 20 arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.

In November, Smith pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon on charges stemming from a June 2012 incident.

Additionally, he was detained by police at Los Angeles International Airport on April 13 for allegedly making a false bomb threat. Smith wasn't charged with a felony but could still face misdemeanor charges, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

On the field, Smith has been one of the NFL's elite pass rushers since being taken by San Francisco with the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft. He notched 14 sacks during his rookie season, then ranked second in the league with 19 1/2 sacks in 2012 while helping the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII. In 11 games last season, the Missouri product totaled 8 1/2 sacks.

Earlier this month, the 49ers exercised the fifth-year option on Smith's contract.

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