The Oakland Raiders have won five of their first seven games despite being without a Pro Bowl pass rusher for the entire season. Linebacker Aldon Smith, currently serving a one-year suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, has reportedly applied for reinstatement.
Per Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith has applied for reinstatement to the NFL, team general manager Reggie McKenzie told the Chronicle.”
Smith’s long road back on to the NFL gridiron has not come without some major hiccups. First, a video surfaced of Smith apparently smoking marijuana.
Then, just a few short days later, the embattled former San Francisco 49ers first-round pick checked himself into rehab for the second time in his career (more on that here).
These are just the latest examples of the erratic behavior we’ve seen from one of the most-talented defenders in the game. During his time in San Francisco, Smith was in trouble for a multitude of off-field reasons.
Anything from multiple DUI related offenses and gun charges to allegedly making terrorist threats at an international airport. Combined, this led to the end of his once promising career with the 49ers.
As it relates to his current attempt to return to the NFL, the Raiders appear to be supportive of Smith.
“Aldon is doing well,” McKenzie said. “That situation is going to be totally up to the league because he’s been in the program and they’ve monitored him. It’s up to Goodell to say yah, nay or when. And he could say no to everything … that part is out of our hands.”
It’s now up to the NFL to reinstate Smith. Whether that video linked above plays a role here is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that the league takes substance abuse violations seriously. And if Smith has not shown he’s turned the corner, his application for reinstatement will likely be rebuffed.