Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL

Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for a minimum of one year by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Raiders have, however, voiced their support for Smith and said they will back him “as he gets the help that he needs”.

Smith also released a statement saying that he would use his enforced time off “to work on myself and become the man I need to be, my team and organisation needs me to be, and I know I can be”.

The 26-year-old, who can apply for reinstatement 60 days before the one-year ban is up, was released by the San Francisco 49ers in August after a string of off-field incidents.

He pleaded not guilty in September to hit and run, drunken driving and vandalism after he was arrested in August on drunken driving charges in Santa Clara, California.

“I had lost my love for the game and it led me to some poor choices, but I am thankful to the Raider organisation for believing in me this season and will continue to better myself and grow from my experiences,” Smith said. “I look forward to rejoining the team next year.”

The August incident was not Smith’s first brush with league discipline.

He was suspended for nine games in 2014 for what the league called violations of its policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

Smith was also arrested in April 2013 at Los Angeles International Airport after being uncooperative during a random secondary screening while passing through security.