Aldon Smith has a chance to seriously change the narrative about himself after the Dallas Cowboys shocked everybody and signed him to a deal.
The one-time premier pass rusher just recently recounted where he sank to his lowest of lows during his 4-year hiatus out of the league while batting substance abuse issues.
“I would say 2018 was a tough year,” Smith said Thursday night in an interview with Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. “In that year, I was in a really dark place. And I didn’t have a lot of value for how I thought about myself.
“When I was in the bad spot, it got pretty bad. I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there. 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.”
The 30-year-old totaled 33.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011-12. Earlier this month, he signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth up to $4 million with Dallas.
His last taste of full NFL action came in 2015, but he would be suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance-abuse and personal conduct policy while a member of the Oakland Raiders.
The former Pro Bowler has been sober for the past nine months.
“At the beginning of it, I was a little hesitant to talk, but the more I felt comfortable with those people, it really just became so therapeutic for me because I was able to get help for things that I was dealing with and I was also able to help by sharing my story,” Smith said. “It’s been a whole lot of soul-searching. It’s been a journey, it’s been filled with ups and downs. During the process, there’s been some self-inflicting wounds, but in the process, I came out with a better understanding of who I am and what I want from my life.
“It gave me a better appreciation for the game that I’ve been blessed to play. I’m just so excited that the Cowboys, the NFL, has given me the chance to come back and finish what I started.”
Smith added that he met Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and former 49ers coach Jim Tomsula who was hired to be Dallas’ defensive line coach.
“I believe that with the platform the NFL gives players, and particularly me with the things that I’ve gone through and the things I’ve learned, it will give me a chance to help out others,” Smith said. “So it’s not just deserving a shot to play, but it’s a shot to use that platform so I can help other people. That’s why I’m so grateful for having this opportunity.”