New Cowboys DE Aldon Smith says he was in such a dark place, he spent nights sleeping under his car

Aldon Smith has not played a snap in the NFL since 2015. He was cut by the Oakland Raiders after another arrest in early 2018. The time away from football was tough.

Smith, who recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys, had multiple suspensions and run-ins with the law. After a while he faded from our consciousness, and was used as an example of someone wasting his career whenever someone did remember him.

Smith told Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer that when he was out of football he went to a dark place that included nights sleeping under his car, even though he had a house.

Aldon Smith says he was in a ‘really dark place’

It sounds like 2018 was the worst year for Smith. That’s when the Raiders cut him after he was charged with domestic violence. Smith told Glazer, via Radio.com:

“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."

Smith found a therapeutic group co-founded by Glazer for players and military veterans, and that helped him, according to the Radio.com story.

Smith still needs to be reinstated by the NFL. But the Cowboys are offering him another chance.

Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith struggled without football. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Cowboys’ gamble on Smith isn’t financially big

Smith had 14 sacks as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and 19.5 sacks his second season. After that second season he was named first-team All-Pro. He was 23 and one of the best players in the NFL.

It fell apart after that, with NFL suspensions for violating the league’s drug policy, DUI arrests and the domestic violence case. The Cowboys are taking a chance, but Smith’s career year was eight years ago, he hasn’t played since Nov. 15, 2015, and he’ll turn 31 during the upcoming season.

The chances that Smith can regain his All-Pro form are slim, but the Cowboys are paying him a deal that has a $910,000 base salary and is heavy on incentives. It’s not a big risk for them.

It is a big deal for Smith to get another shot. If he squanders it, it’s very unlikely he’ll get another.

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