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My thoughts on former Raiders’ pass rusher Aldon Smith signing with Dallas

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Smith hasn’t played since 2015 due to NFL suspension

Minnesota Vikings v Oakland Raiders
Aldon Smith
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stunning NFL news broke Wednesday night when the Dallas Cowboys signed Aldon Smith, who has been suspended from the NFL for more than four years.

Smith was last signed with the Raiders, playing nine games in 2015 before he was suspended indefinitely. Smith struggled with off-field issues during his suspension and has yet to be reinstated.

Yet, reports say Smith, who will turn 31 in September, has been doing well for several months and hopes to be reinstated — and the Cowboys clearly have faith in him.

This isn’t the first time like that has happened ...

The Raiders re-signed Smith in 2016 during his suspension as a sign of good faith. But his troubles continued and the Raiders were eventually forced to release him.

Oakland Raiders v Pittsburgh Steelers

Should the Raiders have tried to sign him this offseason? No, I don’t think so. I think Smith needs a clean slate.

Smith was happy with the Raiders, who signed him shortly before the start of the regular season in 2015 after he was cut by San Francisco. But nearly everyone in the Raiders’ organization who Smith was close with is now gone. So, it’s probably best for all involved that Smith starts this comeback in a new environment. Anyway, five years away from the game is a long time, even for someone who is as immensely talented as Smith, who had 3.5 sacks in nine games as a Raider.

I covered Smith in 2013 with the 49ers and in 2015 with the Raiders. He appeared to be a nice, but troubled, saddened soul most of the time I was around him. Here’s to wishing him the best in Dallas and for a happy rest of his life.