NFL owes response to Aldon Smith's reinstatement request this week

ByAdam Schefter ESPN logo
Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith could learn his football future soon, as the NFL is due to respond to his application for reinstatement this week.

Smith applied for a return to the league Oct. 3, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had 60 days to render a decision on reinstatement, according to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The 60-day period ends Friday.

Smith spent 120 days at a rehabilitation facility in Carbondale, Colorado, sources told ESPN, after a Periscope video on an account purportedly belonging to Smith posted an unidentified man and woman talking about a hand-rolled cigarette. Smith has denied it was him in the video, which was posted over the summer.

Sources said the rehabilitation stay had a profound effect on the 27-year-old linebacker.

There is guarded optimism within the Raiders organization that Smith will be reinstated and allowed to finish out the season, which would be a big boost for a team pushing to win the AFC West and make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Smith was eligible to be reinstated Nov. 17, one year after the NFL hit him with a one-year banishment for violating the league's substance abuse policy when he was arrested in August 2015 on drunken driving, hit and run and vandalism charges.

ESPN's Ed Werder has reported that, because of the Periscope video, the NFL would investigate whether Smith violated the protocols required of a suspended player seeking reinstatement to the league following a violation of the substance abuse policy.

Smith spent time in rehab in 2013 and served a nine-game suspension in 2014 for violating the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies. He was cut by the San Francisco 49ers during training camp after the August 2015 incident, his fifth arrest since coming into the league.

The Raiders signed Smith in September 2015, a month after he was released by the 49ers, and re-signed him to a two-year contract in April. He finished with 3.5 sacks in nine games last season and has 47.5 sacks in 59 career games.

He said in a YouTube video earlier this month that he "won't be defeated" by the challenges he has faced.

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