RENTON, Wash. — There is much uncertainty surrounding veteran defensive end Aldon Smith in his first training camp with the Seahawks.
There is, most pressing, a legal matter in Louisiana, where Smith has been charged with second-degree felony battery relating to an alleged assault in April.
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 24, and the outcome of that arraignment could put in jeopardy his availability with the Seahawks this season.
“I can’t comment on that right now,” Smith said Saturday in his first public comments since signing with the Seahawks.
What Smith did make clear was his motivation to continue to play in the NFL.
The 31-year-old former All-Pro was out of the league for four years while suspended by the league for various substance abuse-related issues. He was arrested three times for driving under the influence from 2011 to 2015, and he was released by San Francisco in 2015 after a hit-and-run arrest. He also accepted a plea deal in 2018 on a domestic-violence charge.
He was reinstated by the NFL last year and signed a one-year deal with Dallas. He posted five sacks in 16 games last season, and then signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks for the veteran minimum of $990,000.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to get back and play the game, and I’m grateful for that,” Smith said.
He has reportedly been through drug and alcohol rehabilitation inpatient programs multiple times, and he said Saturday that his sobriety is an ongoing process.
“For me, it was just making myself vulnerable, and then willing to trust and lean on the people,” he said. “I’ve always had people that were there, but I would always try to carry everything on my shoulders. So letting people help me, and accepting that help, was a major game-changer.”