Aldon Smith may or may not be in hot NFL water, as video has surfaced of an unidentified man – believed to be Smith – smoking marijuana. The Oakland linebacker is currently serving a year-long suspension that was issued in November, when he violated the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Smith is eligible to apply for reinstatement in September, but must abstain from “substances of abuse” during his ban.
So, is this video a big deal?
“If it’s him, it is,” CBSSports.com senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He’s come out and said it wasn’t him, but if that’s him and it can be determined what he was doing there, then yeah, that’s a big deal, absolutely. How dumb can you get if it is indeed him? Come on. These guys, they got to be smarter about this. Yeah, in some states, it’s legal to smoke pot, but in the NFL, you can’t. This is your livelihood. Why put it on the line?”
While Prisco believes the NFL will one day change its stance on marijuana, that day hasn’t come yet. Players know the law of the land, and if they want to play in the NFL, they need to follow it.
“Look, the government is adjusting the way they enforce it in some states, and I think eventually you’re going to see more and more states get involved with it,” Prisco said. “You heard Eugene Monroe and other players say marijuana for medical reasons is a good way to help with the aches and pains of the NFL. So I do eventually think they’re going to get to that, but as of right now, that’s not the way it is. If you’re Le’Veon Bell and you have tests, show up for them. If you’re Aldon Smith and this video surfaces and there’s something to it, then you’re being an idiot. This is your earning years. You only have so many of those in your body. Ten years from now, if you want to smoke pot and take your chances with the law – or maybe even by then it’s legal – then that’s okay. But right now, the rules of the NFL say you cannot smoke pot and play in the NFL if you’re in the program. So be careful with it, wise up, and don’t waste your earning years.”
Josh Gordon, meanwhile, has been reinstated from his indefinite suspension but has been suspended for the first four games of the season. Gordon had 1,646 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns in 2013 but has since played in just five games – and none since 2014.
Do the Browns even want this guy back?
“That’s the issue,” Prisco said. “They’re in total rebuild mode, and when you look at their roster, they have a bunch of young kids at wide receiver. So do you want him on the roster? That’s a big-time question. Personally, I think he’s a heck of a player. If he’s healthy and he’s dedicated to the craft, I think he could be a big-time player for anybody, including the Browns. But the question is, do the Browns want to go in that direction? Anybody else, would they be willing to take him on – because he does face a four-game suspension, and one more misstep, and he’s in big trouble. So it’s a risk, but he’s a heck of a player.”
And then there’s Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman Trophy winner apparently wants a second chance in the NFL. Whether or not he gets it, however, remains to be seen.
“People change and you’d like to think that this kid, the pilot light will go on and he’ll look in the mirror and realize what he’s done to himself and turn his life around,” Prisco said, “but there’s not any indication of that. So right now, I’d probably say no. . . . Have you seen the pictures of him? He looks like he weighs about 165 pounds. He looks terrible. It’s beyond football. This kid needs help in the worst way. He needs to get help. He needs to look in the mirror and say, ‘You know what? Forget about football. My life is going out of control.’ He needs to get it in control from a life standpoint. Forget about football. If he does that, then maybe football has a chance. But as of right now, he is spiraling out of control.”