The worst nights for Aldon Smith came about two years ago. Addressing legal and drug abuse issues that had cost him his NFL position about three years earlier, he chose the sidewalk instead of his own bed.
"I would say 2018 was a tough year," Smith told Fox Sports. “This year I was in a really dark place. I didn't care much about how I thought about myself. When I was in the bad place it got pretty bad. I slept under a car for a few nights because my illness brought me there and I had a home to sleep in. But I was in such a dark place that I didn't see that I deserved anything else. "
However, Smith has apparently been sober for nine months, said Fox Sports Jay Glazer during the interview. Last week, Smith signed a one-year contract worth up to $ 4 million with the Dallas Cowboys. He hasn't appeared in an NFL game since November 2015. Smith must be reinstated by the league before he can play again.
Glazer is a co-founder of the Merging Vets and Players (MVP) program, which 30-year-old Smith joined. In these situations, Smith found comfort in opening up to strangers and showing vulnerability.
“At the beginning I was a little hesitant to speak, but the more I became comfortable with these people, the more therapeutic it became for me because I could get help for myself, because I could get help for things that I did and I could help by telling my story, ”Smith said to Glazer.
Smith's off-field problems included arrests for suspected domestic violence, a hit-and-run, and DUI. He said his plan was to use his status as an NFL player to raise awareness of those who have had similar experiences.
"It will give me the opportunity to help others," he said to Glazer. "It doesn't just deserve a shot to play. It deserves a shot to use this platform so I can help other people."
Smith's 33½ sacks in his first two seasons are most among all players.