Smith was suspended in November 2015 and has been eligible to return for several weeks now. His camp was pushing Roger Goodell to reach a decision on the matter, but for one reason or another, the league office will table things until the early part of the 2017 league year. Meanwhile, Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is playing as he appeals his one-year suspension from the league. The two situations are not exactly identical, but the disparity does not sit well with many fans.
Smith has had multiple run-ins with the league’s substance abuse policy and his latest slip-up led to him spending roughly four months in a rehab clinic. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie indicated in October that Smith’s issues are under control after treatment. Of course, there are two sides to every story and it is possible that Smith has not fulfilled all of the prerequisites for reinstatement.
The Raiders have secured their spot in the playoffs, but they’ll have to forge ahead without the services of Smith or quarterback Derek Carr. On the plus side, they can clinch the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed this weekend if they beat the Broncos and the Patriots fall to the Dolphins.
Per the terms of the two-year extension signed with Oakland in April 2016, Smith is under contract with the Raiders through 2017.
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