NFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders’ Aldon Smith NFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders’ Aldon Smith
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NFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith had 3.5 sacks in 2015, his first year with the Raiders.(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Suspended Oakland Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith will not be reinstated by the NFL this season.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday that the league has deferred a decision on Smith’s petition for reinstatement and will begin consideration in March. Pro Football Talk first reported the decision by the league.

Smith had been suspended in November 2015 for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse. He was eligible to be reinstated on Nov. 17, 2016, and met with commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this month to make his case to return. But the league has decided to wait instead.

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio clearly was not pleased with the league’s choice to put off a decision until 2017.

“Little disappointed, honestly,” Del Rio said. “Obviously it’s not my job to make a ruling, but from everything I’ve gathered he’s done his duty to take care of all the things he needs to take care of.”

Del Rio noted that Smith is still paying a price while other players who have also had off-field issues have been permitted to return.

“I see some of the guys that have been allowed back and my question is, what’s the difference?” Del Rio said. “If a guy has a chance he should have a chance to make a living. I don’t really agree with what’s gone down, but it’s not my job. We’ll move on as a team. That’s what we have to do, but I’m a little disappointed.”

The Raiders (12-3) finish the regular season on Sunday in Denver and will be making their first playoff appearance since 2002.

Smith’s current suspension stemmed from an arrest in August 2015 on charges of drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism, which led to his release by the San Francisco 49ers. That was Smith’s fifth run-in with the law since joining the NFL as a first-round pick by San Francisco in 2011.

Smith signed with Oakland in September 2015 and played nine games before being suspended for a second time by the NFL.

He also missed the first nine games of the 2014 season while serving an NFL suspension for violations of the league’s policies on substance abuse and personal conduct. He missed time during the 2013 season to undergo treatment at an inpatient facility following his DUI arrest that September.

Smith also reportedly entered a treatment center this summer after video linked to his Periscope account showed possible marijuana use. Under NFL policy, a player suspended for substance abuse is prohibited from using drugs or alcohol during the ban.

The commissioner has sole discretion to determine if, or when, a player will be allowed back in the league, and failure to follow the treatment plan is considered a significant factor in that decision.

Despite his problems, the Raiders signed Smith to a two-year contract in April. They have been unable to have direct contact with him during the suspension, but have kept tabs on him through his agent.

PHOTOS: NFL Week 17 games ranked by watchability

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NFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
16. Jaguars at Colts: Both Jacksonville and Indianapolis fell flat in the AFC South race this season. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
15. Bears at Vikings: Chicago and Minnesota are both looking toward next year to make an NFC North run. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
14. Cardinals at Rams: Arizona and Los Angeles both took a significant step back this season. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
13. Bills at Jets: Buffalo fired Rex Ryan on Tuesday as both teams round out disappointing years. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
12. Panthers at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has the slimmest of playoff hopes but needs several games to break its way. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
11. Ravens at Bengals: This looks like the last opportunity to see Steve Smith Sr. in action, with the wide receiver expected to call it a career after this game. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
10. Texans at Titans: This game could have been a showdown for the AFC South, but Houston wrapped up the division a week early. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
9. Seahawks at 49ers: Seattle is still in the picture for a bye but needs to win and have Atlanta lose. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
8. Browns at Steelers: Cleveland would seal the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft with a loss. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
7. Cowboys at Eagles: Dallas has home-field advantage in hand but doesn’t appear to be inclined to rest its starters. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
6. Chiefs at Chargers: Kansas City could finish as high as the No. 2 seed or as low as No. 6 depending on how the final week pans out. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
5. Raiders at Broncos: Oakland looks to wrap up the AFC West and seal a bye in its first game without Derek Carr. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
4. Saints at Falcons: Atlanta is looking to close in on a first-round bye, but Drew Brees could play spoiler. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
3. Giants at Redskins: Washington can position itself for a wild-card berth with a win, but New York doesn’t look ready to pull back. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
2. Patriots at Dolphins: New England looks to capture home-field advantage in one of just two games with postseason ramifications for both participants. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNFL defers decision to reinstate Raiders' Aldon Smith
1. Packers at Lions: The battle for the NFC North and regular-season finale is the clear highlight of Week 17. 
USA TODAY SportsFullscreen

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