FRISCO - "I lost my way along the way,'' says Aldon Smith, in his first full media session since joining the Dallas Cowboys and being reinstated by the NFL. "I wasn't sure what my purpose was. I know football is one of my many purposes that God has put me here for. ... With God giving me this gift, this talent ...
"It was something I didn't finish."
Smith, 30, has been away from football for four seasons due to a series of horrific incidents. (We've chronicled Smith's horrific behavioral history here.) He's owning those mistakes now, driven he says by that understanding of purpose, some inspirational words from his late grandmother Julie Edwards, and his dealing with his drinking problem.
Smith says: "Last year, my grandma passed (of ALS). .. My life wasn't where I wanted it to be. She got a message to me: 'Go out there and get what you deserve.' That, and me surrendering to the problem I had with drinking ... It was time.
"I got to a point where I was fed up with how I was living my life, and I knew I needed to change.''
Smith, a sack master when he first entered the NFL as a first-round pick in San Francisco, says he weighs "around 285 pounds" today, about 15-to-20 pounds heavier than he played at a half-decade ago.
"I feel fast. I feel good. It's a very fit 285,'' he says. "Let me say it like that."
As we've detailed, this is a bargain for Dallas with no risk and a high reward. (See his contract details here.) The big investment, it seems, is by Aldon Smith ... investing in himself, something he referenced often in Friday's virtual media session.
"In the past I was a young teenage boy in the man's body,'' Smith says. "The way that I handled life was in that immature manner. That was fear-based. I've grown into the man I am now. ... I'm not trying to become a better person. I am becoming a better person.''