The journey back to football for Aldon Smith has begun.
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said outside linebacker Aldon Smith has applied to the NFL for reinstatement, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Smith’s one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy effectively ends Nov. 17.
The outside linebacker is reportedly out of rehab and is working to jump start his football career. Oakland has kept in contact with Smith throughout his time away from the game.
“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 (Roger) Goodell to say yah, nay or when. And he could say no to everything, … that part is out of our hands.
“The league will take everything into consideration and Aldon will have to meet with Goodell at some point.”
The 5-2 Raiders could certainly use Smith. He has 47.5 sacks in 59 career games. Oakland ranks dead last in the NFL in total defense and is currently at the No. 28 spot in total sacks with 9.
Smith’s impact on the Raiders isn’t what’s important, though. The pass rushers’ health and ability to stay off drugs and alcohol is paramount. Smith’s promising career was derailed by substance abuse.