Here’s a name we haven’t heard in quite a long time. Suspended linebacker Aldon Smith is in the “process of applying for reinstatement” with the league, according to Jim Trotter of NFL Network (Twitter video link).
That would certainly be quite the comeback story if Smith does manage to make it back to the NFL. He hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2015 season, and the last we heard of him was in November of 2018 when he was turning himself into authorities after a domestic violence accusation. Smith has been arrested more than a handful of times over the years, including several times since his indefinite suspension from the league.
He’s also dealt with substance abuse issues, although people around the former Missouri star tell Trotter that he is clean and sober now. Smith was drafted seventh overall by the 49ers back in 2011 and became an instant star, racking up 14 sacks as a rookie. In his second season he had 19.5 sacks and was a first-team All-Pro, quickly cementing himself as one of the best defensive players in the league.
Things quickly unraveled after that as he missed a chunk of the 2013 season while in rehab. He was then hit with a nine-game suspension during the 2014 campaign. Following another arrest for DUI he was released by San Francisco, and latched on with Oakland. He played in nine games for the Raiders in 2015 before being given the suspension he is still currently serving. He tried to get back in the league in 2016 but his application was denied.
The Raiders officially released him in March of 2018 after another arrest. Smith will certainly have a lot of work to do if he wants Roger Goodell to let him back in the league, but he’s clearly not giving up hope. He’s still only 30, so he should theoretically have some gas left in the tank physically. At this point it still seems like a long-shot but no matter what happens, here’s to hoping Smith has everything figured out off the field.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.