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Aldon Smith says he’s ‘an overall better person,’ extremely grateful for opportunity with Cowboys

Smith talked in depth about his journey and reinstatement into the NFL.

When the Cowboys signed defensive end Aldon Smith to a one-year, $4 million contract in March, there was no guarantee he would see the field in 2020. Only anticipation.

But when the NFL league office informed Smith of his reinstatement earlier this week, that anticipation turned into gratitude.

Smith has struggled with alcohol abuse and legal issues, including domestic abuse. For months, he has lived in sober living residences and trained for an NFL return. Smith can begin participating in all team activities with the Cowboys next Tuesday, a source told The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken.

He has not appeared in a game since 2015.

In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Smith reiterated how thankful he is that the Jones family is giving him a second chance in the league. Smith also talked about his expectations for the coming season.

Here are some highlights:

“God has blessed me with talent, and, one of the talents is my natural gift to play ball, to be an athlete.

"So, I still feel young. I don’t have the mileage on my body. I still feel great when I go to the gym. I still feel young and fresh. So, if anything, I’m looking forward to what I’m going to be able to do out there.

“I’m an overall better person. I got 20 sacks [in 2012] ... 19.5 ... I say 20 because it was 20. But, I was able to play at a high level with a lot of other things going on in my life. With how life is for me now, I’m just looking forward to seeing what I can do.

“My goal is to pick up where I left off. That just means I always work hard. I always play hard. I want the same thing out of my teammates and I’m sure those guys in the locker room feel the same way, and with that mentality, the sky is the limit. I think as long as we do what we need to do and everybody plays to their potential anything’s possible.

“... I think my overall emotion is... I’m grateful. I’m really grateful. I’ve came a long way. And for me to get back and have the opportunity to do something I love, something I enjoyed? That opportunity means a lot.”

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