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NFL reinstates Cowboys' Aldon Smith, who last played in '15

The former Mizzou star is back in the NFL for the first time since 2015
Credit: AP
Oakland Raiders defensive end Aldon Smith during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

FRISCO, Texas — Aldon Smith will be able to take part in team activities with the Dallas Cowboys after the NFL on Wednesday conditionally reinstated the pass rusher from an indefinite suspension for off-field issues.

Smith, who hasn't played in an NFL game since 2015, will be able to participate in the Cowboys' virtual offseason program starting next week. He can also meet with teammates and coaches.

The Cowboys, who lost sacks leader Robert Quinn in free agency, signed Smith to a one-year contract last month despite his uncertain playing status. Smith was reinstated after meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on a video teleconference last week.

Smith was drafted seventh overall by San Francisco in 2011 and had 14 sacks as a rookie. He was an All-Pro in 2012 when he had 19 1/2 sacks and the 49ers reached the Super Bowl. He had 44 sacks in 50 games during his first four NFL seasons in San Francisco with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, now on the Cowboys staff for new head coach Mike McCarthy.

Smith had several legal issues as a player with San Francisco and Oakland. He was first suspended with the 49ers in 2014 before receiving a one-year ban in November 2015 with the Raiders. Smith applied for reinstatement to the NFL in 2016, but that decision was initially deferred.

Oakland retained Smith’s contractual rights before releasing him in 2018 after San Francisco police issued a warrant for his arrest in a domestic violence case.

The Cowboys still have a suspended pass rusher under contract in Randy Gregory, who is seeking reinstatement. Gregory was indefinitely suspended in February 2019 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, his fourth league suspension coming about seven months after he had been reinstated by Goodell.

Gregory slid to the Cowboys late in the second round of the 2015 draft after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL combine.

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