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Aldon Smith fulfilled requirements for early return, NFLPA says

A union rep said the league denied an early return from suspension despite the fact that Smith did everything asked of him.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith fulfilled all of the requirements for returning early from his nine-game suspension, but the league, for unspecified reasons, chose not to reduce the suspension. That's according to the NFL Players Association, which went on the record with Fox Sports.

"Aldon fulfilled all of his obligations to be considered to return from his suspension early," a union representative said. "The NFL chose not to make that decision."

That statement counters a report by ESPN's Ed Werder, who said Sunday that the full suspension was upheld because Smith failed to fulfill counseling obligations. Smith's agent, Doug Hendrickson, also denied that report.

The Niners managed to get past Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints without Smith on Sunday. The linebacker has now missed nine games for violating the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies and is eligible to return. Pro Football Talk reports he is expected to be cleared by the league on Monday and should be available for a Week 11 game against the New York Giants.