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NFL notes: 49ers preparing to move on without Smith

Wed., Sept. 25, 2013

Carlos Rogers understands a key piece of San Francisco’s defense is missing with the absence of Aldon Smith, yet the veteran cornerback is determined to make sure it never becomes an excuse for the team’s recent poor play.

The 49ers are moving forward without their star linebacker and sacks leader as he begins rehab for substance abuse and an indefinite leave from the team. He played in Sunday’s 27-7 loss to the Colts, but is gone now following his second DUI arrest in 20 months last Friday morning that also included suspicion of marijuana possession.

“I think it’s a distraction to whoever wants to think about it, to whoever wants to pay attention to it,” Rogers said Tuesday. “When I get out there on the field and play, I’m thinking about playing whatever team, I’m not thinking about Aldon and whatever situation went on with him. We’re going to continue our meetings, we’re going to continue to go on the field and practice, whether he’s here or not. That’s the only thing we can do.”

While everybody in the locker room is rooting for Smith’s recovery, his fellow defenders are now focused on getting the most from the guys who will take over for him: Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier, among others.

“We believe he’ll be healthier, and not just as a football player but as a normal human being, and we wish him the best of luck,” safety Donte Whitner said.

Bears leap to third

The Chicago Bears have jumped five spots to third while Denver and Seattle remain atop the AP Pro32 power rankings.

Note: A complete listing appears in the Scoreboard on page B4.

Around the league

Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer will have season-ending surgery on his left knee. … The Raiders will begin preparations for Sunday’s game against the Redskins with uncertainty about who will start at QB as Terrelle Pryor recovers from a concussion. … Lions WR Nate Burleson was in a one-car accident and needs surgery on a broken arm. The team said that the police have confirmed alcohol was not involved.

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