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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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NFL Wire Notes | 49ers waive linebacker Derek Smith

The San Francisco 49ers waived linebacker Derek Smith on Tuesday, cutting ties with their longtime leading tackler whose role was assumed...

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers waived linebacker Derek Smith on Tuesday, cutting ties with their longtime leading tackler whose role was assumed last season by rookie Patrick Willis.

Smith, an 11-year pro who signed a three-year contract extension before the 2006 season, was to make $3.28 million in base salary next season despite his dwindling role on the San Francisco defense. Willis, the league's defensive rookie of the year, took over Smith's role as the 49ers' defensive leader and top tackler.

"Derek has been an important member of the 49ers," coach Mike Nolan said. "You don't make these kinds of decisions without battling the emotion that is natural when you are dealing with a player that has done so much for your organization."

Smith, 33, made at least 123 tackles in each of his first nine league seasons — four with Washington and five with San Francisco.

Smith made 78 tackles last season, but his playing time decreased significantly in the final months of San Francisco's fifth consecutive losing season. Willis made 174 tackles.

Notes

• Baltimore designated Terrell Suggs, a two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker, as its franchise player, a move that prevents him from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the month.

Suggs, 25, will be paid a one-year contract of $8.065 million, the average salary of the five highest-paid linebackers in the league last season. Under league rules, the Ravens can match any competing offer for Suggs or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

• Kansas City put a franchise tag on defensive end Jared Allen, who led the league in sacks with 15-½ last season despite being suspended for the first two games because of multiple DUI convictions.

The Chiefs and Allen, 25, have been unable to work out a contract for almost a year. He will make almost $9 million this year.

• Carolina placed the franchise tag on Jordan Gross, 27, who will make $7.45 million this year.

• Indianapolis put the franchise tag on tight end Dallas Clark, 28, ESPN.com reported. Clark reportedly will make about $4.52 million this year.

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• Pittsburgh defensive end Travis Kirschke, 33, and Washington long snapper Ethan Albright, 36, re-signed with their teams.

Jerome Mathis, Houston Texans receiver and kick returner, was arrested and charged with choking Erica Smith, his pregnant common-law wife, Friday in Manvel, Texas.

Mathis, 24, was charged with assault and family violence. He was released on $3,000 bond.

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