Five years after his last NFL snap, Aldon Smith is returning to the football field. Or at least the virtual one.
The former 49ers star, who has served multiple suspensions under both the substance-abuse policy and the personal-conduct policy, has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL, ESPN reported Wednesday. The pass-rusher can take part in the Cowboys’ virtual offseason program in what has to be one of the more interesting Zoom meetings out there.
The 49ers and Cowboys are scheduled to go head-to-head the night of Dec. 20, which now will have one more storyline.
Smith was last seen on an NFL field Nov. 15, 2015, recording a sack in his final game for the Raiders. Shortly thereafter, the league issued him a one-year suspension for an alleged August hit-and-run, which had prompted the 49ers to release him.
Now 30, the former Pro Bowler has dealt with problem after problem in an NFL career that began in 2011. There have been multiple driving-under-the-influence charges, multiple car crashes and a charge of domestic violence.
Smith reportedly accepted a plea deal in November 2018 with San Francisco prosecutors to settle a domestic-violence case from earlier that year, in which his then-fiancee alleged he bit her wrists.
If Smith can stay out of even more trouble, Jerry Jones has a new pass-rusher, and one who’s recorded 47.5 sacks in his tumultuous five years.