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.
The Raiders and Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell 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 like #FreeAldonSmith, I can’t help but think that this isn’t solely Goodell’s fault; in fact, it’s almost entirely Smith’s fault, so let’s not martyr this football player just yet.
Raiders fans have been waiting a long time…
I have literally been waiting 14 years to see my team return to the playoffs and, man, what a ride. From Al Davis going through 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 for the last three years, well, I have to say it feels great no matter how many people online, 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 paid 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.
How should the Raiders deal with Smith’s baggage?
That same baggage is what worried fans, writers, and management because, as great as it was to have 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 in a single vehicle accident and then voluntarily checked himself into rehab, there was a chance that Smith realized he needed help and was willing to accept responsibility. 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, only to 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 is currently 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 that he, in fact, will not be reinstated, then I won’t shed tears either. Let’s not forget that 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 to 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 that 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, who 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.