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NFL will reinstate Raiders OLB Aldon Smith in March barring slip up

The former All-Pro didn’t get to come back in 2016 like he wanted, but he should be cleared to join the Raiders soon.

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Minnesota Vikings v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Former All-Pro Aldon Smith wasn’t reinstated as an active player during the 2016 season, but is expected to get the green light from Roger Goodell in March, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Smith completed a one-year suspension stemming from a hit-and-run incident that also brought DUI and vandalism charges for the outside linebacker.

Smith applied for reinstatement during the 2016 season, but his case was deferred by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in December, pushing it to March when it’s expected he will be cleared to join the team.

The Oakland Raiders earned their first playoff berth since 2001, but the team’s defense certainly could’ve used the help. Oakland gave up more than 400 yards in five of its first six games in 2016, although it settled in and played better in the latter half of the season.

After losing Derek Carr to a fractured leg, the Raiders defense couldn’t shoulder the load in Week 17 and Oakland was bounced from the playoffs with a 27-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the wild card round.

Smith is a talented player, but he’s made more headlines with his actions off the field than on it. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2013 after recording 19.5 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers. In the four seasons since, a smattering of arrests and suspensions resulted in him playing only 27 of a possible 58 games.

His first arrest came in Jan. 2012 when he was charged with driving under the influence, but he escaped suspension. Five months later, he was allegedly stabbed while trying to break up a fight at his apartment. The ensuing investigation led to felony charges against Smith for illegal possession of an assault weapon, though they were later reduced.

In Sept. 2013, he was involved in a single car accident that led to DUI and possession of marijuana charges. He missed five games that season after checking himself into a rehab facility.

The following April, he was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly telling a TSA agent he was carrying a bomb. Those charges were later dropped, but Smith still wound up suspended for nine games of the 2014 season.

Fewer than four months later, he was arrested for hit-and-run, DUI, and vandalism charges after a car accident. The 49ers released him the following day.

He signed with the Raiders before the start of the season. He recorded 3.5 sacks in nine games before the league issued its judgment on Smith’s latest arrest and suspended him for a full calendar year.

Smith applied for reinstatement on Nov. 17, 366 days after the NFL issued his suspension, thanks to the leap year. He’ll have to wait a little while longer for Goodell to clear him for a return, but it looks like there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel.