Aldon Smith has not played in the NFL since 2015, but he believes there is still a lot of life in him as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Due to off-field problems, substance abuse, and other issues, he was out of the league almost as fast as he dominated the spotlight in it. Now, he's heading back for another chance with a new team, and Smith believes he can contribute and is young enough to do so.
Smith holds the record for sacks in the first two seasons of a career with 33.5 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He holds the 49ers' team record for most sacks in a season with 19.5 in 2012, but he was out of pro football just a few years later.
On Friday, Smith spoke about his comeback and how it feels to be back in the NFL after such a long absence. The official website of the Dallas Cowboys reported that he's grateful for his time with both the 49ers and Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders as they taught him a lot.
"I still feel great. I still feel young. I still can move well. I still have a great knowledge of the game, if not better knowledge of the game. I learned a lot from the guys I played with in California and they taught me a lot of good things."Smith just recently received a conditional reinstatement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and he took part in virtual meetings with the Cowboys this week.
Along with everything that he has learned while being out of the NFL, Smith says that the passing of his grandmother from ALS last year had a significant effect on him. He said that her battle against the disease delivered a message to him he needed to "just do better and basically go out there and get what you deserve."
Through five seasons, Smith racked up 47.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and one interception.
The Dallas Cowboys have faith in Smith and his ability, but they are also protecting themselves. His one-year deal is worth up to $4 million, and that includes $2 million in possible incentives. The one thing is that there is not a single cent of guaranteed money built into it.
Smith turns 31 years old in September, and he was one of the best overall players coming out of college in 2011, as well as someone who proved worthy of a first-round selection. With his life seemingly back on track, he hopes he can prove his doubters wrong when he puts on a Cowboys' uniform in 2020.