Aldon Smith is back in the NFL. After missing the last four seasons, the Dallas Cowboys defensive end has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL from an indefinite suspension for violation of the league's conduct and substance abuse policies, according to ESPN. This fact means Smith can take part in team meetings with the coaches and players. ESPN mentioned Smith met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell via a virtual call last week.
Smith has not played in an NFL game since 2015 due to legal and substance abuse issues. At that time, Smith was a member of the Oakland Raiders and was suspended for a year to a hit-and-run incident in August of that year. He applied for reinstatement in October 2016, but it was not granted, and he ultimately sat out the entire 2016 and 2017 season. The Raiders then cut Smith in March 2018 due to an alleged domestic violence incident.
On April 2, 2020, Smith signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys while awaiting reinstatement. He will receive a base salary if $910,000 and $40,625 every time he's on the active game-day roster. Smith will now get $90,000 from the Cowboys due to him being reinstated. "I was very impressed with everything that he's done and his path," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said when the team signed Smith, via Pro Football Talk "I've always admired him from afar. Very impressive young man, and I'm looking forward to working with him."
Smith, 30, was a risky signing by the Cowboys due to his history. However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has no problems taking risks on players with issues, especially if the players can help the team win. "I would say first-hand that I know that [Smith] is very diligent in his work to do the things the NFL looks at to reinstate," Jones said, "I wouldn't dare get into where the league is and how they will go about this process … [but] as a league, we really are bent toward the medical aspect of many of these problems or many of these things that have been in consideration when a player has to have some type of suspension."
Smith was selected No. 7 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2011 NFL Draft. He made an immediate impact during his rookie season, recording 37 tackles and 14 sacks. The entire league took notice of Smith in 2012, tallying 66 tackles and 19.5 sacks. In just five NFL seasons, Smith has notched 47.5 sacks.