Al Davis would be proud. Fresh off of being charged for three misdemeanors on Friday, Aldon Smith officially left cross-Bay rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, to join forces with the baddest team around, the Oakland Raiders. It's like an NFL Star Wars join-the-darkside plot, set in the Bay Area.
In August, the 49ers released Smith after he was arrested for a DUI, a hit-and-run and vandalism, which resulted in the misdemeanor charges on Friday. If convicted of all three, Smith's maximum penalty is two years and six months in county jail. 49ers coach Jim Tomsula took a moment to speak poignantly on the situation,
Sad day. This is a day that doesn't have anything to do about football. ... Although he won't be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he will be supported and helped, and he will not have to walk this path alone. That comes from our ownership down. ... We're not worried about football. This has nothing to do with football. If one person out there reads [about] this and you're struggling, get help. Go get it. You're worth it. You're worth it. There's value in in every human being. Go get the help. You don't have to walk alone. Find it, it's there.
But instead of waiting for a long period of rehab to pass, the Oakland Raiders have scooped up the 25-year-old Greenwood, MS native—who has 44 career sacks—in hopes of playing him as early as Sunday. Without an official suspension, Smith is eligible to play until one is announced.
Sporting his customary number 99 at his first Raiders practice today, Smith is interfacing well with a team that has a reputation for taking in outlaws. The Raiders' late former owner Al Davis used to bring in players with checkered pasts and "fuel the desire" for them to play again.