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Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith detailed his journey back to the NFL on Thursday.
Smith, who hasn’t played a snap of football since the 2015 season, said in an interview on “FOX Football Now” that 2018 was really his “rock bottom.”
“I would say 2018 was a tough year,” he said. “In that year, I was in a really dark place. I didn’t have a lot of value for how I thought about myself. When I was in the bad spot, it got pretty bad. I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there. And I had a home to sleep in. But I was in such a dark place that I didn’t see myself deserving anything other than that.”
Smith, 30, had several legal issues as a player with the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. He was first suspended with the 49ers before being banned for one year in November 2015 with the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders kept his contractual rights until 2018 when San Francisco police issued a warrant for his arrest in a domestic violence case. He applied for reinstatement in the NFL in 2016, but his case was deferred until the next offseason and he was never officially granted reinstatement.
“FOX Football Now” host Jay Glazer mentioned that Smith has been sober for nine months. The defensive end said it was helpful to join Glazer’s foundation – Merging Vets and Players – and talk to people.
Aldon Smith was a fearsome defender for the 49ers.
(The Associated Press)
“At the beginning of it I was a little hesitant to talk but the more I felt comfortable with those people, it really just became so therapeutic for me because I was able to get help for me because I was able to get help for things that I was dealing with and I was also able to help by sharing my story,” Smith said.
Smith was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro selection during the 2012 season. He accrued 19.5 sacks and 66 tackles in 16 games. He said he met Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy at Glazer’s California gym and the two built a connection from there. Dallas also became a better fit for him when Jim Tomsula – a former 49ers coach – joined the team.