Newly signed OLB Clark Haggans will miss the 49ers' next three games after being suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Haggans was convicted of DUI in 2011 as a member of the Cardinals. His agent, Jeff Sperbeck, tried to have that suspension reduced during a hearing two weeks ago. The league could have suspended Haggans as much as six games.
"Earlier today the team was made aware of the NFL's decision to suspend Clark Haggans for three games," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "We were certainly aware that this decision was a possibility as we evaluated Clark prior to adding him to our roster. Therefore, we are prepared to move forward accordingly."
The 49ers signed Haggans, 35, on Sept. 3 after shelving the top backup at the position, Parys Haralson, for the season with a torn triceps. Haggans suited up for the first two games but did not play a snap. He can return to the active roster on Oct. 8, one day after the 49ers host the Bills.
Haggans' 2011 DUI occurred after Haggans, who was at a concert with his wife, received a frantic call from their babysitter who said that their daughter, five years old at the time, was having trouble breathing. Haggans was cited for speeding and running a red light and was charged with DUI. He pled guilty to "extreme DUI" -- a DUI in which the blood-alcohol level is more than .150 -- and served jail time in June. He also was convicted of DUI in Colorado in 2004.
It's unknown how the 49ers will proceed without him for the next three weeks. Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs could serve as an emergency third outside linebacker if anything happened to starters Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith. The 49ers also could bring rookie Cam Johnson up from the practice squad. Ikaika Alama-Francis and Eric Bakhtiari, both of whom were with the 49ers in the preseason, also are options.
Haggans' suspension means that the 49ers have an opening on their 53-man roster.
-- Matt Barrows