Don’t look now but it’s obvious that the Aldon Smith debacle seems to be a lingering issue for Raiders fans this season, and why wouldn’t it be? The addition of Smith would help take the current defense to another level, something that would only make this season more special. Everyone knows that his pass rusher position is what makes this possible but regardless, I just don’t think it’s happening this year. Roger Goddell is such a polarizing figure as NFL Commissioner, especially when it comes to handing down punishments, and his handling (or mishandling depending on who you talk to) of Aldon Smith’s reinstatement falls in line with his other blunders that have marred his reign. However, as I see trending hashtags on Twitter such as #FreeAldonSmith I can’t help but think that this contention doesn’t fall solely on Goddell, in fact its Smith’s fault almost entirely, so let’s not martyr this football player just yet.
I literally have been waiting 14 years to see my team return to the playoffs and man, what a ride. From Al Davis going thru coaches like people do with crab legs at $10 buffets and the dismal drafts to the passing of the legend himself. So to see the product finally show fruit after being harvested the last three years, well I have to say it feels great no matter how much people on-line, on ESPN, and Fox Sports want to downplay our success and call our team and fans “trash”. Aldon’s addition was one of many moves orchestrated by Reggie McKenzie and as we all saw; it payed dividends right away. The matchup nightmare of planning for Smith and Khalil Mack probably caused some sleepless nights for opposing coordinators and quarterbacks to say the least. However, like anything in life there’s a flip side to that coin. Aldon brought with him a lot of baggage, the 49ers who drafted him basically gave up on him and outright released him.
That same baggage is what worried fans, writers, and management because as great as having such a pass rusher, you knew the gavel was going to drop at some point. Now if you go back to 2013 when he was involved in a single vehicle accident and then voluntarily checked himself into rehab, at that time, maybe there was a hope that Smith realized he needed help and was going to take responsibility. Clearly this hope was misguided because after serving a 9 game suspension he got popped for yet another DUI, leading to his inevitable release from the 49ers. Fast forward to him showing signs of his former self on the field with the Raiders to only be suspended again for the DUI incident that led to his original release. While suspended, it is believed he was caught on video smoking marijuana, which many writers and insiders believe is what currently is causing the delay in his reinstatement.
If it’s decided after an investigation that it’s not Aldon in that video and he’s reinstated I will jump for joy like any other Raider fan but if it’s decided he in fact, will not be reinstated then I won’t shed tears either. Let’s not forget this man could’ve caused serious damage while driving and while it’s true he’s human like the rest of us, let’s take a step back and examine this situation. Let’s not let our loyalty for our team cause us to be blind. The man got many chances and sort of reminds me of the Michael Vick situation, just how much can you get away with because you’re “talented”? But let us hope in the end he has finally turned around his life and situation, because at the end of the day this is the Raiders and Al Davis believed in second and third chances, subsequently believing in players that were outcasts. Let’s hope this season’s magic continues for the rest of the season. Rambler out.
“I’m in pro football to win, to have the Raiders dominate, to have the Raiders global, and we’re not going to be able to do that with a half-filled stadium.”