Aug 11, 2021
SEATTLE — Aldon Smith’s hopes of continuing his NFL comeback with the Seattle Seahawks are over.
The team waived the veteran defensive end, it announced, with sources telling ESPN the move was because of an off-the-field matter. The decision is not football-related but rather the result of Smith violating the team’s trust, according to a source.
The 31-year-old Smith has faced alcohol and legal issues for much of his NFL career, including an arrest in April on a second-degree battery charge in Louisiana. That incident occurred shortly after the Seahawks signed him to a minimum-salary deal hoping that he could keep his personal life in order and continue his career revival, which began last season with the Dallas Cowboys after he missed the previous four seasons because of NFL suspensions.
Smith has been staying in a sober living home in Seattle, as he did last season in Dallas. While speaking with reporters on July 31 for the first time since signing with the Seahawks, Smith said his “tremendous support staff” helps him with his ongoing attempt to remain sober.
“For me, it was just making myself vulnerable and being willing to trust and lean on [those] 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.”
Smith had been impressing the Seahawks with his play during training camp. “Really good” was how one team source last week described how Smith was looking on the field. He played in the Seahawks’ mock game Sunday at Lumen Field and practiced Tuesday after the team’s day off.
Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 24 in connection to his April arrest in Louisiana. He is accused of choking a man unconscious during an altercation that began inside a New Orleans-area coffee shop. According to the police report obtained by WWL-TV, Smith had confronted the man about marital issues the man was having with one of Smith’s relatives.
Two days before that incident, the Seahawks signed Smith to a one-year, $1.1 million contract that included $137,500 guaranteed.
Smith did not take part in the Seahawks’ voluntary offseason program — many of their veteran players declined to take part until the final week — and received an excused absence from their mandatory minicamp in June. Coach Pete Carroll said Smith was not physically ready to practice at the time.
After Smith worked himself into shape heading into training camp, Carroll commented about how hard Smith had worked to get his body ready and how quickly he was picking things up. But Carroll also conveyed the reality that given Smith’s troubles with alcohol, there was more to his quest for a roster spot than what he showed on the field.
“We really sense that the more we can support him, the more, obviously, we can be there for him, the stronger it makes him,” Carroll said July 31. “So that’s really what our intent is here.”
The Louisiana arrest was the latest of Smith’s several legal issues, which have included multiple DUI arrests and a domestic violence charge. The NFL suspended Smith for parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons and from 2016 to 2019 for violations of its policies on personal conduct and substance abuse.
He returned to the NFL last season with the Cowboys and had five sacks in 16 games, with three coming in one game against Seattle and all of them coming in the first half of the season.
Smith set an NFL record with 33.5 sacks over his first two seasons and has 52.5 sacks in six seasons.
The Seahawks are deep in edge rushers with veterans Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa and Kerry Hyder as well as promising young players such as Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson and L.J. Collier.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano contributed to this report.