Suspended Raiders LB Aldon Smith won't be reinstated this season

BY Andre Vergara • December 30, 2016

Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith, suspended since November 2015 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, won't be reinstated this season, the league announced Friday.

Smith was eligible to return from his one-year suspension in November and met with commissioner Roger Goodell, but the NFL determined that it will not consider his case until March — possibly because Smith has not yet met its standards for reinstatement.

The troubled linebacker, who's had five run-ins with the law since being drafted No. 7 overall in 2011, posted video of himself with what looked like marijuana on social media in July, then checked into rehab. Smith's one-year suspension stemmed from an arrest on charges of DUI, hit-and-run and vandalism. He was released by the San Francisco 49ers and signed by the Raiders, registering 28 tackles and 3½ sacks in nine games for them and signing a two-year contract in April.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was disappointed with the decision.

“Obviously it’s not my job to make a ruling, but from everything I’ve gathered, he’s done his duty to take care of all the things he needs to take care of,” Del Rio told the San Jose Mercury News on Friday. “I see some of the guys that have been allowed back and my question is, what’s the difference?

“When a guy has a chance, he should have a chance to make a living. I don’t really agree with what’s gone down, but it’s not my job. We’ll move on as a team. That’s what we have to do, but I’m a little disappointed.”

Smith has played in 27 of a possible 63 games since 2013 due to his off-the-field problems.

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