Last week, Aldon Smith was spotted at a Golden State Warriors game. He told a reporter that he expects to be back with the Oakland Raiders soon. By soon, he meant “two weeks.”
Smith applied for reinstatement last month, hoping Roger Goodell will allow him to hit the field when his suspension ends on Nov. 17. He received the year-long ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and has only played 16 games since 2014.
While it’s certainly encouraging that he hopes to be back soon, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio isn’t as hopeful.
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“That’s a wait-and-see, hope-for-the-best situation,” Del Rio said at his press conference Monday. “The way I’ve thought about it, and I haven’t thought a whole lot about it since, is that let’s let the young man get his life in order first. If he can do that, then we can talk about football. Let’s make sure his life is in order, and I’m sure that’s what the commissioner will do before he decides whether he’s going to reinstate him or not.”
Smith can be a contributor as a pass rusher for the Raiders, but he can’t be counted on after the trouble he’s gotten himself into lately. When on the field and not suspended, Smith is an impact player. In 59 career games, he has 47 1/2 sacks.
However, regardless of how much he can help the Raiders, Del Rio isn’t holding his breath.
“We’re not going to wait for that,” Del Rio said. “We have to continue to grow and do the things that have helped us play much better defensively the last several weeks and build on that.”