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Aldon Smith still on Raiders' radar during suspension

Aldon Smith remains in the Oakland Raiders' plans, but don't expect a new deal between the player and team soon.

Smith is serving a one-year suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. He appeared in nine games for the Raiders last season, finishing with 3.5 sacks. Smith, 26, is eligible for reinstatement in mid-November.

"The conversations have been good," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie told on Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida. "Really, it's encouraging him as a person to continue to get his life right. And if you're going to commit to this thing, you have to go through some steps. And that's what he's going through right now."

The Raiders are playing the slow game here, which creates the possibility of another team jumping into the mix.  He can sign a deal with any team during his suspension. That said, Smith's high-profile, off-the-field problems might make him a toxic entity for many front offices.

Smith's presence would make an already ascendant Raiders defense even better. An easily forgotten fact: Aldon Smith had 44 sacks in just 50 games with the 49ers. If he get his life in order, superstar potential remains.

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