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Aldon Smith is in the process of applying for reinstatement into the NFL

Smith hasn’t played in the league since 2015

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers

NFL Network’s Jim Trotter reported Friday morning that former San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Aldon Smith is seeking reinstatement to the NFL. Smith hasn’t been in the league since 2015. Talent was never Smith’s issue. In the first two years of his career, Smith reached 30 sacks faster than anyone in league history. There were legal and personal issues that led to Smith being suspended from the league indefinitely.

Trotter mentioned that Smith told him, “he’s clean now and wants to get back into the league.” In June of 2019, Smith was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Subsequent to that, in September of 2019, Smith said, “I’m thankful to have made it another year. Grateful to be happy, loved, sober, and supported. God is good.” This will come down to commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision. If Goodell feels like Aldon is in a position that Goodell feels and has met the requirements to return to the NFL, then the commish will lift the suspension.

Whatever is best for Smith, that’s what I want. I know there will always be jokes, and he brought a lot of that on himself, but someone’s mental health is nothing to joke about. If football is the best “escape” for Smith, so he remains in a good place, then let him play football. If Goodell determines that Smith is attempting a comeback for the wrong reasons, then that’s something Smith will have to live with. No matter what the result is, I hope there is transparency.

On the field is another topic. It’s been five seasons since Smith played. Once known as one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, there is no telling how much athleticism/skill remains from Smith. Only Aldon knows how much he’s been working out and training. If reinstated, seeing which teams are interested in Smith will be fascinating. Letting him play in a developmental league like the XFL would likely have been best. Unfortunately, that league has suspended its season due to the coronavirus—best of luck, Aldon.