49ers should root for now-Cowboys EDGE Aldon Smith

Despite an ugly back history, former San Francisco 49ers EDGE Aldon Smith is returning to the NFL, this time with the Dallas Cowboys. And Niners fans should root for him.

Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders EDGE Aldon Smith is the epitome of “what could have been” at the NFL level.

Now, there’s a chance to ask the question of “what could be” in regards to Smith.

Smith is reportedly coming back to the league on a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, reported Wednesday evening:

Smith’s life has been turbulent, to say the least, beginning with a number of legal run-ins and issues, which included a DUI arrest in January of 2012, felony charges (later reduced to misdemeanors) stemming from a party at his house in 2013, another DUI arrest later that year, a 2014 arrest at Los Angeles International Airport, a hit-and-run DUI arrest in 2015 and additional arrests and chargers after the 49ers released him early in 2015.

The Raiders brought him aboard that same year, and he ended up appearing in nine games and recorded 3.5 sacks before being handed with an NFL-mandated one-year suspension later in the year.

Smith applied for reinstatement, yet it never happened. And it will have to in order for the 30-year-old former seventh-overall Niners NFL Draft pick hopes to get back in the league.

According to Glazer, Smith has been participating heavily in the Merging Vets & Players organization, founded by Glazer and former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper Nate Boyer.

Smith has been present for every session the last eight months, per Glazer.

Even though Smith is potentially joining the 49ers’ hated rivals, the Cowboys, it shouldn’t be too hard for Niners fans to root for their former star defender, particularly centered around his recovery.

Without diving into the specifics, addiction is nothing to be scoffed at. Nor should one hold alcoholism against an individual, especially if that person has battled it for a long, long time. Smith falls into that category, and his life was heading towards a tragic end. That’s far more important than an on-field career.

In that context, it almost doesn’t matter if Smith returns to the kind of prolific prowess he enjoyed early in his career.

Instead, the important part will be getting clean and staying clean. Considering Glazer is almost always spot on with his reports, all signs are pointing to Smith having turned a major page in his life and now has a hopeful chance to get back on the field and make a quality difference there.

And it sounds like he’s also making a crucial difference elsewhere, too.

Next: 3 outcomes from 49ers signing WR Travis Benjamin

At any rate, this is one of those instances where it’s more important to root for the man and not necessarily the player.

49ers fans can get behind that, and they should.

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