Del Rio disappointed NFL hasn't reinstated Aldon Smith

Del Rio disappointed NFL hasn't reinstated Aldon Smith

ALAMEDA – Aldon Smith won’t play for the Raiders this season. Head coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t like that. Not one bit.

The veteran edge rusher applied for reinstatement from an indefinite banishment under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but the league said Friday it won’t re-open Smith’s case until March 2017.

Smith was eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 17. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials met with Smith earlier this month, but the league didn’t directly address his reinstatement case until Friday.

“I’m a little disappointed, honestly,” Del Rio said. “I feel like, from everything I’ve gathered – it’s obviously not my job to make a ruling – he has done his duty to take care of everything he needs to take care of. I see some of the guys that have been allowed back, and my question is, ‘What’s the difference?’”

The NFL recently allowed Dallas edge rusher Randy Gregory to return to work, though his suspension was finite. Michael Floyd, recently released by Arizona and signed by New England, is playing despite a recent DUI arrest, but hasn't been convicted of a crime.

Smith still has pending misdemeanor charges of DUI, hit-and-run and valndalism outstanding, with a trial date during set for Feb. 27, 2017. 

Del Rio believes Smith should have a right to work at this stage.

“It’s always a question mark,” Del Rio said. "But if I 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 am a little disappointed.”

Del Rio isn’t the only one upset Smith isn’t coming back. Star edge rusher Khalil Mack, one of Smith’s best friends on the team, was also bummed out by the news.

“It is what it is,” Mack said. “I don’t like the fact that he’s not going to be able to do what he loves but, at the same, (the league’s decision) isn’t something he can control. We have to roll with the punches.”

Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection


Raiders sign linebacker with Paul Guenther connection

The Raiders entered this free agency period needing defensive help throughout the depth chart. They signed presumptive starters earlier in this veteran acquisition process, but didn’t stop there.

The Silver and Black have added depth this week especially, signing a key cog in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur on Wednesday afternoon.

Lamur spent the last two years in Minnesota and the previous four in Cincinnati with new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Guenther was his position coach from 2012-13 and his DC from 2014-15. He also knows Raiders linebackers coach David Lippincott from the Bengals days

Lamur has primarily been a reserve, but Guenther gave him an opportunity to start in 2014. He had 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts that year as a strongside linebacker.

The Raiders have options at that spot, but no firm starter at this stage if Bruce Irvin plays defensive end full time.

Lamur hasn’t played much defense the last two years, but is known as a quality special teams contributor. The Raiders have signed several of those players in an attempt to improve coverage and returns.

All told, the Raiders have signed 14 unrestricted free agents with a shot to make the 53-man roster since last week began. The roster will turnover significantly in Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders, and it’s possible he signs more players in coming days.

The Raiders are still looking for upgrades at receiver, and might add another bargain defensive lineman.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.