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Dumping Aldon Smith now is too little, too late for Raiders

Posted by On March 06, 2018

Dumping Aldon Smith now is too little, too late for Raiders

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Note: Earlier version of this column indicated Aldon Smith would not have been property of the Raiders when free agency begins. That error has been rectified.

The Raiders dumped Aldon Smith Monday, and the big question is why it took so long.

Mind you, Smith hasn’t been involved with the team since 2015 other than the ability to avail himself of support staff as he’s served an indefinite suspension for a list of serious transgressions. Although listed as an unrestricted free agent, he would have remained property of the Raiders after March 14 if on suspension until he is reinstated by the commissioner.

Finally, the Raiders walked away, seeing no need to wait for a reinstatement that may never come and disassociating them selves with Smith.

Yet let’s not paint the Raiders as paragons of virtue for the release a day after he was sought by San Francisco police in a domestic violence case and instead reportedly checked himself into rehab.

The Raiders gambled by signing Smith after he was released by the 49ers, and then a second time with an extension, a gamble which didn’t pay off.

The first time Smith met the media in the Raiders’ locker room, he didn’t come off as a guy who was trying to put his mistakes behind him. He instead exuded the petulance of someone who thought he’d been done wrong by the 49ers.

In the end, the fallout for the Raiders, as opposed to the 49ers, was minimal. Smith played in nine games with seven starts. The Raiders paid next to nothing and got next to nothing, and Smith’s presence on a suspended list didn’t exactly rock the foundation of the franchise. They went from a loser to a winner to a loser since Smith signed the first time and he had nothing to do with any of it.

Smith wasn’t around, wasn’t part of the team and was involved in the league’s own version of due process.

Nearly a year ago, Smith wasn’t released by the Raiders after being detained for public intoxication with the driver arrested for driving under the influence, a transgression which virtually assured he would remain suspended for the foreseeable future.

There was no reason for the Raiders to keep Smith around after an episode in which he left the jail and appeared to be intoxicated while talking with reporters. But the Raiders did what many NFL teams do â€" they allowed a major talent remain on the fringe specifically because of that talent.

Right or wrong, Smith was repeatedly been given extra chances, and that’s the way the NFL (and pretty much every other sport) works and has always worked.

Lawrence Taylor didn’t go to the Hall of Fame because he was a good guy. He was kept on the field a nd enabled by the New York Giants and Bill Parcells because he was a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

John Matuszak is a beloved Raider who had a taste for booze and firearms, and Al Davis for a long time was known for taking chances on wayward players. In many of those instances, trouble and legal issues were buried because there was no social media to jump-start public opinion.

As far has Smith goes, his Raiders career had nothing in the way of a ripple effect. There were never any banners, organized protests or anything of the sort to get him off the roster. He was out sight, out of mind to most of the fan base, as if he was barely here.

That doesn’t include a Twitter fringe which isn’t rooted in reality and can’t fathom why Smith was never reinstated in the first place, blissfully ignoring the rap sheet. But a fringe is all it is.

Smith was the least of the Raiders’ concerns. The team is headed for Las Vegas within the next couple of years. Quarterb ack Derek Carr is looking for a bounce back season after signing a $125 million contract.

When fans clamored for cornerback Sean Smith to be released, it wasn’t because he was arrested in July of 2017 for an alleged assault on his sister’s boyfriend. It was because receivers kept running free in the secondary.

And if Sean Smith is released before the start of the new league year on March 14, it will be because they don’t want to pay him $8.25 million and not because of an impending trial.

The Raiders stood behind the late Darrell Russell for years because of his talent. Josh Gordon keeps getting chances with the Cleveland Browns because of his talent.

The Raiders finally got off the Aldon Smith train Monday, setting aside their previous public stances to support him in the wake of the latest round of ugly accusations.

It was at least a year overdue.

Source: Google News US Sports | Netizen 24 United States

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