It's been a long and hard road for former All-Pro Defensive End Aldon Smith to get his life in order and get another shot in the NFL. Through soul searching and working with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and his MVP foundation that helps merge veterans back into society, Smith has the structure he needs to continue on his upward climb to being a better person.
On a conference call Friday, Smith talked about how he was feeling even after five years away from the NFL.
“I still feel great,” Smith said. “I still feel young. I still can move well. I still have a great knowledge of the game, if not better knowledge of the game. I learned a lot from the guys I played with in California and they taught me a lot of good things.”
Smith is also thankful for the journey to self-improvement he's been on for quite some time now.
“It has been a journey, indeed, and a journey I'm grateful for,” Smith said. “I've had time to really work on myself and take advantage of all the support and things that have been offered to me. The way I look at where I am now to who I was in the past, I was a young teenage boy in a man's body, so a man on the outside but a boy on the inside. The way I handled the issues, life, was in that immature manner and that was fear-based and not just handling things the way I should have.
“With the time I've had to work on myself, it's allowed me to grow into the man that I man that I am so the man on the inside fits on how the man on the outside looks.”
Smith set an NFL record with 33.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. A big reason for that was the guidance of Jim Tomsula, who the Cowboys added to their staff back in January as their defensive line coach, and Smith couldn't be more pleased.
“Getting back and being with Jim is definitely exciting,” Smith said. “We had a great time together with the group of guys that we had and the success that we had there. I just love how Jim allows us to go out and be free on the field and not feel like we're in a box.”
Things are looking up for Smith and he has a chance to be one of the best turnaround stories in NFL history.