Cowboys' Aldon Smith on Hitting Rock Bottom with Substance Abuse: 'I Was Sleeping Under a Car’
Aldon Smith is thankful for another chance in the NFL — and in life.
The 30-year-old was signed this month on a 1-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. Smith had not played in the NFL since 2015, after being suspended while on the Oakland Raiders.
Despite signing with the Texas team, Smith — who is nine-months sober — is still on a suspension with the league.
“It’s been a whole lot of soul-searching. It’s been a journey, you know, it’s been filled with ups and downs,” Smith said in an interview with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer this week.
Smith had been previously suspended for the first nine games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies.
He was released from the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 after his arrest in Santa Clara, California, on charges of driving under the influence, hit and run and vandalism. He pleaded no contest to the hit and run and the DUI charges were dropped, TMZ reported. The outlet said he was sentenced to 20 days in jail but served it at a residential rehab facility.
At the time, it was the fifth time Smith has been arrested in three years, and his third DUI arrest since entering the league in 2011.
After joining and being suspended by the Raiders, the team ultimately cut him in 2018 — the same year he agreed to a plea deal in a domestic violence case involving an incident with his then-fiancée, according to ESPN.
Smith pleaded no contest to violating a court order and false imprisonment. He originally faced additional charges of domestic violence, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, and vandalism, ESPN said. The San Francisco Chronicle reported he was sentenced to 90 days in jail — which he was allowed to serve at an in-patient drug and alcohol treatment center — and three years probation.
“I would say, 2018 was a tough year,” Smith said in his Fox Sports interview. “I was in a really dark place.”
He continued, “I didn’t have a lot of value for how I thought about myself. It got pretty bad that 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 said “there’s been some self-inflicting wounds” on his journey to sobriety.
“In the process, I came out with a better understanding of who I am and what I want from my life,” he told Glazer. Said Smith, “And it gave me a great appreciation for the game that I’ve been blessed to play, and I’m just so excited that the Cowboys — the NFL — have given me a chance to come back and finish what I started.”
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