Oakland Raiders’ linebacker Aldon Smith has applied for NFL reinstatement after being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, according to Vic Tafur of The San Francisco Chronicle. He is out of rehab while Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie says that the 27-year-old is working hard to return to the team.
Smith’s one-year suspension ends Nov. 17.
“Aldon is doing well,” said McKenzie. “That situation is going to be totally up to the league because he’s been in the program and they’ve monitored him.”
The veteran pass rusher has to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell before officially returning to the Raiders, however.
Due to league rules, Oakland has not been permitted to communicate with Smith during his suspension. However, the Raiders have been able to receive information from his agent, Doug Hendrickson, about the linebacker’s well-being.
Smith entered a treatment center in July.
During his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith was arrested five times. After the fifth arrest in August 2015, the 49ers decided to part ways with the star pass rusher. That is when Oakland decided to give him a chance.
He played nine games with the Raiders in 2015, recording 21 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Smith, who played his collegiate football at the University of Missouri, was originally selected by San Francisco with the seventh pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He immediately made a significant impact, tallying 14 sacks during his first season. In his second year, Smith racked up 50 tackles and 19.5 sacks, resulting in a Pro Bowl appearance and a First Team All-NFL selection.
For the first time in well over a decade, Oakland is a serious playoff contender. The Raiders are currently 5-2 and sit in first-place in the AFC West division.