ALAMEDA – Aldon Smith won’t be returning this season. That seemed to be the case as the regular season wound down without a ruling on his application for reinstatement.
The NFL won’t revisit the application to end his indefinite banishment as a repeat violator of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told CSNBayArea.com on Friday morning.
The league will revisit Smith’s application in March 2017, but that doesn’t mean he will be reinstated at that time.
Smith still has some lingering legal issued to deal with. He was charged with misdemeanor counts of DUI, hit and run, and vandalism stemming from an Aug. 2015 incident that ultimately got him released by the 49ers.
He was signed by the Raiders shortly after, and played nine games in Silver and Black before getting suspended in November of 2015.
Smith spent 120 days in rehab starting in July, shortly after a video shared on social media raised questions about whether he yet again violated the league's substance abuse policy. Smith initially denied it was him in the video on Twitter, but has since deleted the tweet.
Smith applied for reinstatement on Oct. 3 and met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later in the year. Goodell was under no deadline to make a ruling, despite some calls that he had to do so within 60 days.
Goodell has not ruled on Smith’s application and has tabled it until next spring.
Smith signed a two-year contract this past offseason, and he’ll have one year remaining on that deal if he’s reinstated in 2017.
Smith assumed that he would be reinstated earlier this year, and told the Associated Press he would be back soon. Smith was frustrated by Goodell’s indecision. He wanted to play again this season and help with the Raiders playoff push.
That won’t happen now, though the Raiders defense has performed well with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin rushing off the edge. Smith would’ve been a valuable asset as a pass rusher, but they won’t have his services until next year at the earliest.
Smith has had several run-ins with the law since the 49ers drafted him No. 7 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.
Here again are the NFL's collectively bargained guidelines for reinstatement, from the NFL substance abuse policy:
Procedures for Reinstatement Following Stage Three Banishment
Any Player who has been banished under Stage Three may apply formally in writing for reinstatement no sooner than 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter so banishing him.
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.
Set forth below are the procedures to be used when an application is received by the Commissioner.
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.