Smith, who was conditionally reinstated on Wednesday after a slew of off-field issues that kept him on the sidelines for the past five years, said on Thursday that he’s simply thrilled to have the chance to play again.
“I’m grateful. I’m really grateful,” Smith said, via TMZ. “I came a long way. For me to have the opportunity to get back and do something that I love, something that I enjoyed — just to have that opportunity again means a lot.”
Smith’s legal trouble
Smith has faced numerous legal issues over the past half-decade, including DUI arrests, a DUI hit-and-run arrest, an illegal possession of an assault weapon charge and even calling in a fake bomb threat at the Los Angeles International Airport. He was also arrested in 2018 on domestic abuse allegations, which he later pleaded no contest to.
The Raiders officially released him following that last arrest. Not long after, Smith revealed, there were nights when he ended up sleeping under a car.
“I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there,” Smith said last month, via Fox Sports. “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.”
A source of inspiration
Now, though, Smith said he is finally sober and back on track.
He believes he’s “an overall better person,” and hopes that his story can help others.
“I was able to defeat some big, big obstacles in my life,” Smith said, via TMZ. “I just want my story to spread and help out others … I believe everybody goes through things in their life, and no matter what they do for a profession, it affects them in a manner that can either be their downfall or it can be something they look at and learn from. I want people to see my story and see it and be able to be like, ‘Hey man, he can do it, he’s done it.’
“I want to be a source of inspiration for people.”
‘I still feel young’
Smith hasn’t played in the league for five years, last suiting up for nine games for the Raiders in 2015.
The 30-year-old simply isn’t the same dominant pass rusher he once was upon arrival to the NFL nearly a full decade ago. He recorded 33.5 sacks and 103 total tackles in his first two seasons in the league with the San Francisco 49ers, picking up both a Pro Bowl nod and All-Pro honors in the process.
He does, though, fully believe that he can have a major impact out on the field for the Cowboys — who signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal.
“I still feel young,” Smith said, via TMZ. “I don’t have the mileage on my body. I still feel great when I go to the gym. I still feel young and fresh. So, if anything, I’m looking forward to what I’m going to be able to do out there.”
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