It's been more than a year since Aldon Smith was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and the Raiders pass-rusher is taking steps toward getting back to the field.
Smith is in the process of scheduling a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or a high-ranking league official in an effort to state his case for reinstatement, sources informed of the process told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday. Smith has participated in the necessary meetings with counselors, per Rapoport, and now the next step is for him to meet with the league.
Rapoport added that nothing officially has been decided regarding Smith's petition for reinstatement, which he filed in October. However, setting up a meeting with a Goodell or a league official is considered the final step before a potential reinstatement can be issued.
Still, as Rapoport reported Sunday, the Raiders aren't counting on Smith being available to play. If he were to be available before the end of the season, the team would view it simply as a bonus at this point. There's also no guarantee he'll be in football shape and ready to be a valuable contributor if he were to return before the playoffs.
Smith signed with the Raiders before the 2015 season and registered 3.5 sacks before his ban. He previously served as a quarterback nightmare for the San Francisco 49ers, registering more sacks over the first two years of his career (33.5) than any other player in NFL history.