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Aldon Smith reinstatement ruling deferred by NFL

The NFL has chosen to defer a decision on Aldon Smith's reinstatement petition until March, a league spokesman told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Friday.

As a result, Smith will be unable to rejoin the Oakland Raiders this season, a situation that the team was anticipating, according to Rapoport. The NFL did not comment on its deferment decision.

The embattled pass-rusher met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL officials Dec. 9 in an effort to state his case for reinstatement from suspension, a source told Rapoport. The Raiders linebacker was suspended by the league for one year in November 2015 for violating its substance abuse policy.

Although nothing has been decided regarding Smith's reinstatement petition, which he filed in October, his meeting with Goodell and league officials was considered the final step before a potential reinstatement can be issued, Rapoport said.

Smith signed with the Raiders before the 2015 season and registered 3.5 sacks before his ban. He previously served as a quarterback nightmare for the San Francisco 49ers, registering more sacks over the first two years of his career (33.5) than any other player in NFL history.

The Raiders close out the regular season Sunday against the Broncos before embarking on their first playoff appearance since their 2002 Super Bowl run.

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