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Aldon Smith reinstated to NFL without 'mileage on my body'

Aldon Smith was reinstated by the NFL on Wednesday and is set to join the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

After being out of the NFL since 2015, Smith isn't worried about returning as rusty as The Tin Man after a long sea voyage.

"God has blessed me with talent," Smith told TMZ. "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."

Smith's once-promising NFL career was waylaid by off-field issues, including multiple DWI incidents, for which he was suspended by the league. After compiling 33.5 sacks in his first two seasons in 2011 and 2012 -- including 19.5 in his second year -- it all began going sideways for Smith.

Turning 31 in September, Smith is now clean and sober. He hopes the renewed focus will help jump-start his career.

"I'm an overall better person [than I was back then]," Smith says. "I got 20 sacks ... 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."

The Cowboys signed Smith to a one-year contract worth up to $4 million, with $2 million in base salary and $2 million in sack incentives, but no money guaranteed.

Smith's reclamation project could prove a boon for Dallas if he returns close to the form he showed early in his career. That's a gargantuan IF at this point. The Cowboys counting on Smith to play a big role would be problematic. If any production is a bonus, then it's a worthwhile gambit.

"My goal is to pick up where I left off," Smith told TMZ. "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."

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