Aldon Smith Will Be A Raider Despite Suspension


Aldon Smith received a one year suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. This should come as no surprise to Oakland Raiders fans or anyone who knows the slightest bit about Smith’s troubled history.

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In August, Aldon Smith was arrested for the fifth time since 2012, and the San Francisco 49ers released him shortly after the late summer incident. After Smith’s release, Jim Tomsula claimed that San Francisco’s organization would help Smith with his issues.

However, the only thing Jed York and the sweat soaked Tomsula did was show Aldon Smith the door. If that’s the kind of support that 49ers’ staff have for their players, it isn’t much of a surprise that the 49ers have one of the worst records in the NFL.

Fortunately for Smith, Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders welcomed the troubled star defender with open arms. He has played a huge part in the resurrection of the Raiders’ defense this season. Oakland is a middle of the pack team with four wins, but their front seven is a stout group that is on the rise.

Considering the fact that the Raiders didn’t earn their first win of 2014 till late last season, their four wins this year show drastic improvement. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper have been scoring the points, but Aldon Smith has certainly provided a star pass rush for the Silver and Black.

Smith has 3.5 sacks this season, and he’s the perfect pass rushing compliment to Khalil Mack. Without a doubt, Aldon Smith has earned the respect of the Oakland Raiders and their fans. It’s certain that the team will re-sign Smith to a long-term contract after he serves his suspension.

According to ESPN, the Raiders made a statement on Aldon Smith and the suspension:

"“Aldon has been a positive addition to the Raiders. 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.”"

The Raiders displayed a great amount of class with this statement, and it’s refreshing to see at least one respectable organization in the Bay Area. There is a clear reason why the Raiders are a team on the rise; they respect their players and understand what it takes to win unlike the 49ers.

Don’t expect to see Aldon Smith on the field again this season. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his suspension shortened, pending an appeal. It seems that every players’ suspensions have been decreased recently, and that trend should be reflected in the Aldon Smith situation.

During the late phases of Smith’s tenure with the 49ers, he seemed detached and distant from the star pass rusher he was in 2012. Yes, Smith’s legal troubles were his own fault, but the 49ers didn’t seem to do anything to help him improve as a person.

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With the Raiders, Aldon Smith quickly reasserted himself as a reliable, hard working defender. Part of this could be a result of new opportunities with a different team. However, Mark Davis, Jack Del Rio, and the Raiders organization deserve credit for pointing Smith in the right direction.

Of the past and future, Smith 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.”"

Aldon Smith will definitely have a lot of great football left in him as a Raider after the suspension.