Aldon Smith To Be Reinstated In March

As long as he does not suffer any further setbacks in the league’s drug program, Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith will be reinstated in March, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Aldon Smith (vertical)

Of course, Smith was eligible to be reinstated from his latest suspension back in November, but the league deferred his request in December, opting to table its decision until the early part of the 2017 league year. Smith is under Raiders’ control through the 2017 season, so he will have the opportunity to put his off-field struggles behind him, reestablish himself as a pass rusher, and set himself up for a nice payday in 2018.

But that will be a tall order for a player who, for all his talent, has been largely unable to keep himself out of trouble. Indeed, Smith’s most recent suspension, a one-year ban, stemmed from his August 2015 arrest on drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism charges. That was the fifth time Smith had been arrested since he entered the league as the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft. The 49ers, who drafted Smith and who reaped the benefits of his fearsome pass rush ability for several seasons, had simply had enough at that point, and they cut Smith shortly after the arrest.

He was subsequently scooped up by the Raiders, and he posted 3.5 sacks for Oakland in nine games during the 2015 season before being hit with the one-year suspension (he also served a nine-game ban in 2013 for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies). Despite that, Oakland handed Smith a two-year, $11.5MM deal last spring, and GM Reggie McKenzie has repeatedly expressed support for the troubled young talent.

In just 59 career games, Smith has racked up 47.5 sacks, so if he is able to stay on the field in 2017, he and newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack could give opposing quarterbacks fits next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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