Reports: Roger Goodell reinstates Aldon Smith, clears path for NFL return with Cowboys

Jason Owens
·2-min read

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated defensive end Aldon Smith on Wednesday, clearing a path to his return to the league with the Dallas Cowboys, according to multiple reports.

The former All-Pro pass rusher hasn't played in the NFL since 2015 because of myriad off-field issues including a domestic violence conviction. The Cowboys signed the former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders pass rusher on April 1.

Smith, 30, last played in the NFL with the Raiders in 2015, recording 3.5 sacks over nine games. The 2011 first-round pick was a dominant pass rusher when he joined the league, tallying 33.5 sacks over his first two seasons with the 49ers, earning All-Pro honors with 19.5 sacks in his second season.

Smith’s troubled past

A slew of off-field issues including DUI arrests, a charge for illegal possession of an assault weapon and a fake bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport derailed his career in San Francisco. The 49ers released Smith in 2015 after a DUI hit-and run arrest in Santa Clara.

Aldon Smith 30, hasn't played NFL football since 2015. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Aldon Smith 30, hasn't played NFL football since 2015. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

The Raiders signed Smith after he was cut in San Francisco. The NFL handed Smith a one-year suspension in November of that season as a repeat offender of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Domestic violence case ends career with Raiders

Smith never played again for the Raiders, who officially released him in 2018 after a domestic abuse arrest.

He later pleaded no contest to charges of false imprisonment and violating a court order related to the domestic abuse case.

Smith recently told Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer that 2018 was a dark time that saw him sleeping under a car.

“I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there,” Smith told Glazer. “And I had a home to sleep in. But I was in such a dark place that I didn't see myself deserving anything other than that.”

The Cowboys signed Smith to a one-year, $2 million deal.

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