Once more, a promising career is being cut short thanks to repeated run-ins with the law. The Oakland Raiders released talented defensive lineman Aldon Smith after yet another clash with law enforcement. Some Raider Nation faithful said the release was inevitable. After all, Smith was still on the NFL’s suspended list when Oakland claimed his contract.
Smith was initially suspended by the league back in November 2015 after violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse, according to the Associated Press. When the Raiders signed Smith to a two-year contract, he had yet to be released from the suspension related to that allegation.
The Case Against Smith
Recently, the San Francisco police released the news that they were looking for Smith in connection to a domestic violence allegation. When an arrest warrant was issued, that was the last straw for Oakland. They told Smith thanks but no thanks.
The current charges against smith are misdemeanor willful infliction of corporal injury, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, as well as false imprisonment and vandalism.
It’s a disappointing fall from grace for Smith, who was considered to be one of the best pass rushers in the league, averaging more than 16 sacks a season in his first two years. As a rookie, Smith was part of a dominating defense that led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC championship game.
The next year he had another great season, but followed that performance up with a DUI arrest, for which he was placed on suspension in 2014. Another DUI led to yet another suspension, and he was suspended yet again for substance abuse. Multiple strikes, and the Raiders gave Smith a shot anyway. That’s just how good he was.
Smith applied for the suspension to be lifted back in 2016, but that decision was put on hold until after the season. Ultimately, the request for reinstatement was not processed. So, the man who was an All-Pro back in 2012, found himself on the cusp of being out of the NFL.
The Raiders took a chance, giving Smith what might have been his last chance to make a career in the league. That chance may have faded away. There are a lot of good pass rushers in the league, and more coming out of college. Teams don’t have to take on a guy who has a tendency to get in trouble and fail to finish seasons.
That’s where Smith’s career is at this point. Not dead, no, but seriously listing. If he wants to start repairing his brand and increase his slim chances of getting back into All-Pro shape, his window of opportunity is very small, and it’s fading fast.