ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith has applied to the NFL to be reinstated from his one-year suspension.
A person with knowledge of the application told The Associated Press that Smith has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to be allowed back on the field once his ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy ends on Nov. 17. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Thursday because the league hasn't made the application public. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the move.
Smith was suspended for one year last November for violating the substance abuse policy. That stemmed from an arrest in August on charges of drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism, which led to his release by the San Francisco 49ers. That was Smith's fifth run-in with the law since joining the NFL as a first-round pick by San Francisco in 2011.
Smith signed with Oakland last September and played nine games before being suspended for a second time by the NFL.
Smith also missed the first nine games of the 2014 season while serving an NFL suspension for violations of the league's substance abuse and personal conduct policies. He missed time during the 2013 season to undergo treatment at an inpatient facility following his DUI arrest that September.
Smith also reportedly entered a treatment centre this summer after video linked to his Periscope account showed possible marijuana use.
Despite his problems, the Raiders signed Smith to a two-year contract in April. They have been unable to have direct contact with him during the suspension but have kept tabs on him through his agent.
"Aldon is working out and getting ready," general manager Reggie McKenzie told the Chronicle. "He is in a great place and that's the main thing. Whether Goodell lets him out or not, that's the important thing — that he's healthy and happy. But I would hope that we as a league reward a guy — with stipulations — who goes through the right steps and wants to get better and get his life in order."
Smith had been a key part of Oakland's defence last season, providing another pass rushing threat to go along with All Pro Khalil Mack. Smith had just 3 1/2 sacks in nine games, but did provide 36 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, and was stout against the run.
Despite adding free agent Bruce Irvin in the off-season to fill Smith's role, Oakland (5-2) is tied for 28th in the league with nine sacks and is allowing a league-worst 6.7 yards per play.
Smith has been one of the league's best pass rushers when available, with 47 1/2 sacks in 59 career games.
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