FRISCO - The Aldon Smith camp knows the Dallas Cowboys are moving on from him.
The Dallas Cowboys know Aldon Smith is moving on from them.
So why is Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy downplaying the news - first broken on Monday by CowboysSI.com - by saying the team's situation with its free agent pass-rusher Aldon Smith is "still fluid''?
Because, frankly, McCarthy is showing Aldon Smith a kindness. That's why.
"I personally haven't moved on (from Smith)," McCarthy said Thursday in an offseason State of the Union press conference with the media here at The Star in Frisco. "That's still fluid.''
The facts: The Cowboys decided long ago - really, dating back to 2020 Thanksgiving weekend - that the overall arrangement was less than ideal. This conclusion was not reached this week, as has erroneously been reported.
Additionally, as we've reported, Smith is focusing on "issues,'' sources tell us, that go beyond football and are more important than football. (There might be people inside this building who don't know this; surely McCarthy is not among them.)
Smith, 31, was reinstated by the NFL in 2020 after nearly five years out of football due to a series of league suspensions tied to behavioral issues and substance abuse. He started all 16 games and had five sacks - four of those coming in the first three games of the season.
It was, all in all, a remarkable comeback and redemption story. And it does not have to be over, a source telling CowboysSI.com that Smith wishes to return to the NFL. And at least one NFL team is monitoring his situation this offseason.
What does Dallas owe Smith here? McCarthy was personally involved in the controversial signing, and was personally involved in pledging to help the troubled player. The fact that is it presently not quite working out is reason enough for McCarthy to both do Smith a kindness by maintaining and optimistic tone, and by being positive in any conversations he might have regarding Smith.
In fact, McCarthy pointed out, "I was in a conversation yesterday about Aldon. So we'll see how that works out moving forward. … We’re still talking there.”
"Talking'' is good. Support is needed. But it has nothing to do with the Dallas Cowboys and Aldon Smith planning a reunion.