Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith’s indefinite suspension from the NFL has been lifted by commissioner Roger Goodell five years after he was first banned amid a string of alcohol-related arrests.
A league spokesman confirmed the decision to the Daily Mail. Smith’s reinstatement was first reported by ESPN.
After being cut by the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, Smith surprisingly signed a deal with the Cowboys last month despite his ongoing suspension and uncertain status for the 2020 season.
The 30-year-old has not appeared in an NFL game since 2015 because of legal issues and a public battle with alcoholism.
Smith has had no fewer than four DUI arrests since being drafted by the 49ers in 2011, and was voluntarily placed in a treatment facility in 2013. He was also transferred to an inpatient rehab center following a domestic violence arrest in 2018. Smith was last arrested for DUI in 2019.
Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith’s indefinite suspension from the NFL has been lifted by commissioner Roger Goodell five years after he was first banned amid a string of DUI arrests
In April, Smith posted a picture of himself signing his new contract on Instagram, writing: ‘Life is good. I’m thankful. I’m blessed. I’m a Cowboy.’
He has since moved to the Dallas area and on Thursday held a video conference call with Goodell to discuss terms of his reinstatement, which have not been revealed.
Smith’s reinstatement means the feared pass rusher can take part in team meetings and the Cowboys’ virtual offseason training program.
Smith first applied for reinstatement to the NFL in 2016, but that decision was initially deferred before subsequent arrests hurt his case.
In March of 2018, for instance, police arrested Smith on allegations that he assaulted his then-fiancee. He allegedly fled the scene before authorities could arrive but turned himself in three days later. The Raiders released him shortly after his arrest.
He was ordered by a judge to enroll in alcohol monitoring and be fitted with an ankle monitor. However, when he arrived at the at the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department in April of 2018 to get the ankle bracelet, Smith’s blood-alcohol content was an astounding 0.41 – over five times the legal limit to drive in California.
Smith was taken into custody for violating a court order stipulating he was not to drink alcohol.
In April, Smith posted a picture of himself signing the contract on Instagram, writing: ‘Life is good. I’m thankful. I’m blessed. I’m a Cowboy’
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had a virtual meeting with Smith to discuss lifting his ban
His reinstatement means he will immediately get $90,000 of his one-year deal worth up to $4 million with incentives, according to ESPN. Thirty days after his reinstatement he will get another $50,000 and when he reports to training came, he will receive $100,000.
If he fails to make the roster after final cuts, the Cowboys would owe him only $440,000 in total.
Smith released a statement on Instagram, saying there ‘is beauty in the struggle’
The 6-foot-4 combo linebacker/defensive end had an impressive 19.5 sacks in 2015, his second season, but struggled to match his production as he continued to battle personal problems.
The Cowboys are also waiting to hear about the potential reinstatement of another pass rusher, defensive end Randy Gregory, who was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and has not played in a game since the 2018 season.
‘We’re not sure when we’ll hear something,’ Cowboys executive Stephen Jones, son of owner Jerry Jones, said in April prior to Smith’s reinstatement. ‘Obviously, the league is looking out for their best interest. As men off the field and certainly that’s what’s first and foremost and the priority is how they’re coming off the field.
‘If ultimately they get to a point which we think they can that Roger [Goodell] feels like they can come back to work and play football and that’s in their best interest in addition to what they need off the field, then certainly we’ll welcome them back and go to work.’
Smith (right) could be reunited with new Dallas defensive line coach Jim Tomsula (left), who was his position coach for his first four seasons with the 49ers before becoming head coach
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have a history of giving troubled players second chances
Jerry Jones has a history of trying to resurrect the careers of troubled defensive players, but with mixed results. This time, Dallas is looking for pass rushing help after losing Robert Quinn to Chicago in free agency.
Linebacker Rolando McClain played well for the Cowboys after returning from suspension in 2014, recording 161 tackles over two seasons. Defensive end Greg Hardy signed with Dallas as a free agent in 2015 following a domestic violence case in North Carolina, but that tumultuous season was Hardy’s final year in the league.
Smith is being reunited with new Dallas defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who was his position coach in San Francisco before briefly becoming head coach of the 49ers.
At the time of Smith’s release in 2014, Tomsula stressed that he and the 49ers organization would continue to support Smith on his road to recovery and added a message to everyone else struggling with alcohol and drugs.
‘What I would like to say is if one person out there reads this, and you’re struggling, get help,’ Tomsula said at the press conference. ‘Go get it. You’re worth it. You’re worth it. There’s value in every human being. Get the help. You don’t have to walk alone.’
Source: dailymail US