Aldon Smith Suspended
Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended Tuesday by the NFL for one calendar year because of violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The penalty is effective immediately and Smith will be eligible to apply for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the end of the suspension.
Smith, 26, was released by the San Francisco 49ers in August after several run-ins with the law and then landed across the bay with the Raiders. Smith went through the locker room and told teammates goodbye Tuesday before the suspension was officially announced.
Smith released a statement Tuesday night thanking the Raiders their fans and owner Mark Davis for their support.
‘Aldon has been a positive addition to the Raiders. He remains prominently in our long-term plans …’– Raiders statement on suspended LB Aldon Smith
“I am taking this time to work on myself and become the man I need to be, my team and organization needs me to be, and I know I can be,” he said. “I had lost my love for the game and it led me to some poor choices, but I am thankful to the Raider organization for believing in me this season and will continue to better myself and grow from my experiences. I look forward to rejoining the team next year.”
Smith will be a free agent after the season but the Raiders said they would like to bring him back when he is eligible to play again.
“Aldon has been a positive addition to the Raiders,” the team said in a statement. “He remains prominently in our long term plans and we will continue to support this member of our family as he gets the help that he needs.”
Smith becomes the first player suspended for a full year since Cleveland’s Josh Gordon in February, also for substance abuse.
The Niners released Smith on Aug. 7 following his fifth run-in with the law a night earlier on an off day from training camp. The franchise parted ways with one of football’s most menacing pass-rushers after Santa Clara police accused him of drunken driving, hit and run and vandalism.