• Brian L. Barefield

Dark Place: Cowboys DE Aldon Smith Slept Under His Car In 2018 When He Hit Rock Bottom

My pastor once told me that sometimes hitting rock bottom can be a good thing because while you are laying there on your back the only place you can look is up.

Cowboys defensive lineman Aldon Smith has had a couple of those times himself, but in 2018 the thought of never getting back up crossed his mind he said to Fox Sports NFL analyst Jay Glazer in an interview on Thursday night.

“I would say 2018 was a tough year,” Smith said. “In that year, I was in a really dark place, and I didn’t have a lot of value for how I thought about myself. When I was in a bad spot, it got bad. Pretty bad. I was sleeping under a car for some nights because my sickness took me there. And I had a home to sleep in. But I was in such a dark place that I didn’t see myself deserving anything other than that.”

Smith is currently waiting to be reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell after being suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s personal conduct and substance abuse policy on multiple occasions. His last game played was back in 2015. Smith has been sober for nine months while staying at a sober facility in Los Angeles and working with Glazer’s Merging Veterans and Players Foundation.

While training in Los Angeles, Smith met Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and the two developed an instant connection through casual conversation.

“When we met, it seemed like we had known each other,” Smith said. “That was really important to me because going through this process, I wanted to surround myself with people who I felt that connection with. I felt like he genuinely cares about me and what I’m trying to do.”

The former 2011 first-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers who recorded 33.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons is just happy to be given another chance by the Cowboys to play the game he loves. Dallas signed him to a one-year contract worth up to $4 million on last week.

"The whole thing is surreal," Smith told Glazer. "I don't know if it's sunk in yet, but it's just truly amazing and I'm so fortunate it worked out."

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