Former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end Aldon Smith is returning to the league after a four-year absence after signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Smith — who last played with the Oakland Raiders in 2015 after playing four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers — has served multiple suspensions under both the substance-abuse policy and the Personal Conduct Policy, according to Pro Football Talk. Smith’s latest suspension arose from an alleged hit-and-run, DUI and vandalism incident in 2015.
The NFL suspended Smith in 2015 for an alleged hit-and-run incident. A year later, Smith was denied an appeal by the league to be reinstated.
Glazer said Smith has been “clean and sober” for the eight months he has participated with the Merging Vets & Players Program, which mentors and aid former players and war veterans and is co-founded by the NFL on Fox reporter.
“He has been incredible the work he has done with our veterans and ex-players,” Glazer said of Smith, whose year deal for one year and worth up to $4 million, according to ESPN. “He’s really worked himself back into shape. The team loved what they saw in him.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has given talented players that has had past issues a second chance over the past few years including such defensive players like Greg Hardy, Rolando McClain and Alonzo Spellman. Smith has displayed an ability to get to the quarterback as he recorded 19.5 sacks in a Pro Bowl 2012 season with the 49ers.
But Smith, a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2011, has faced many legal issues during his career. He had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana in the 2013 season and missed five games after voluntarily entering a rehabilitation facility.
Smith then served a nine-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies and released in August of 2015 by the 49ers after his third DUI arrest. After not playing in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Raiders released in 2018 after Smith was arrested for an alleged domestic violence incident. During that time in 2018, Smith also was put in jail for violating a condition of his bail.