Today it was revealed that not only will Aldon Smith not be reinstated this season, but he won’t be getting his chance until March to return to the NFL.
Smith has been banned from the NFL since November of 2015 and was initially eligible for reinstatement on November 17 of this season. There was hope that he might be able to return this season, but that never happened. Jack Del Rio is not happy with the process and Roger Goodell leaving Smith hanging.
“A little disappointed, honestly,” Del Rio said of Smith remaining suspended. “I feel like from everything that I’ve gathered, obviously it’s not my job to make a rule, but from everything I’ve gathered, he’s done his duty to take care of all the things he needs to take care of. I see some of the guys that have been allowed back. My question is what’s the difference? It’s always a question mark. If a guy has a chance, he should have a chance to make a living. I don’t really agree with what’s gone down, but it’s not my job. We’ll move on as a team. That’s what we have to do, but I’m a little disappointed.”
One such player who was allowed to return from his NFL suspension was Cowboys’ Randy Gregory who returned after week 14 from his suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. It was the same violation that had Smith was suspended for at least a full calendar year, but Smith is in stage three. Gregory is not (yet). Also, that video arising that appeared to show Smith smoking a joint complicated things further.
In recent weeks, Smith has been posting videos of him working out and staying in shape while hoping to be reinstated this season. This news has to be incredibly discouraging to him after the work he’s put in to be ready.
Hopefully it isn’t too damaging during an already very difficult time for Smith being separated from his NFL support system.