Even after a three-week stretch that has been so improbable, the near-impossible happened on Wednesday night. Former San Francisco 49ers star pass rusher Aldon Smith returned to the NFL by signing a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys despite years of off-field issues.
Smith confirmed that his return to the NFL is indeed going down on Instagram, where he called himself “thankful” and “blessed” to be given a second chance by Jerry Jones.
When his head was on straight, there was no one quite like him in the NFL. A former first-round pick out of Missouri, Smith still holds the record for sacks in a player’s first two seasons, as he recorded 14 in his rookie year and 19.5 in 2012.
From there, unfortunately, the wheels started to fall off. Smith has been arrested multiple times since 2013, with drug violations, car accidents, DUIs, domestic assault, and bomb threats made at an airport all to his name. Smith and the Cowboys both seem to think that he has turned his life around, and both are banking on the idea that the structure and discipline of an NFL locker room can help him stay out of trouble.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 2, 2020
Smith can’t play until he is reinstated by the league, but he and the Cowboys clearly seem to think that will happen. If he becomes half the pass rusher he was with the 49ers, Dallas might have signed a game-changer at a bargain price.