ALAMEDA, Calif. — The NFL office clarified Wednesday the status of suspended Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Aldon Smith, stating that while there could be a decision on reinstatement by Friday, there does not have to be one.
In short, Smith remains in limbo almost two weeks after his yearlong suspension ended on Nov. 17 and nearly 60 days after he applied for reinstatement on Oct. 3.
In an email from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, Smith’s suspension “falls under the collectively bargained substances of abuse policy” and many steps have to be satisfied within 60 days of the player’s application for reinstatement before it can be granted.
“Also, the player must provide all documentation and follow the procedures set forth in the policy,” McCarthy wrote. “The application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s:
b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment;
c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and
d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.”
Per a report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Sunday, Smith spent 120 days at a rehabilitation facility in Carbondale, Colorado, 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. The NFL was going to investigate the video, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder, since it may have violated the terms of Smith’s suspension, as noted above.
Smith has had issues before, going to rehab in 2013 and serving a nine-game suspension in 2014 for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies while with the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners cut him in training camp in 2015 after his fifth arrest since entering the league in 2011. He signed with the Raiders in September 2015 before being suspended that November.
And despite being under suspension, and not allowed to have formal contact with the team as part of the suspension, the Raiders re-signed him to a two-year contract in April following his 3.5 sacks in nine games for Oakland.
Below are the procedures used when an application is received by the NFL commissioner, per McCarthy:
“1. Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the Player will be interviewed by the Medical Director and the Medical Advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the Commissioner with regard to the Player’s request for reinstatement.
2. The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the Commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the Player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.
3. The Player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the Medical Advisor.
4. The Player will agree in a meeting with the Commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the Commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active Player.
5. All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the Commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.”