Aldon Smith has been reinstated to the NFL after a long substance abuse suspension, and despite a nearly five-year layoff, he says he can still be the All-Pro he once was.
Smith told TMZ.com that he sees no reason he can’t be the guy on the field who had 19.5 sacks in 2012, plus a better person off the field.
“I’m an overall better person,” he said. “I got 20 sacks — or 19.5, I say 20 because it was 20 — but, I was able to play at a high level with a lot of other things going on in my life. With how life is for me now, I’m just looking forward to seeing what I can do. My goal is to pick up where I left off. That just means I always work hard. I always play hard. I want the same thing out of my teammates and I’m sure those guys in the locker room feel the same way, and with that mentality, the sky is the limit. I think as long as we do what we need to do and everybody plays to their potential anything’s possible.”
Smith, who described himself as “extremely thankful for the Cowboys” for giving him another chance in the NFL, said that he feels great at 30 years old.
“God has blessed me with talent,” Smith said. “And one of the talents is my natural gift to play ball, to be an athlete. So, I still feel young. 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.”
Given Smith’s track record, it would be easy to question whether he can really stay on the right path long enough to return to his All-Pro form. If he can, the Cowboys just added an elite pass rusher to their roster.