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McKenzie: Raiders won't give up on Aldon Smith

The Raidersshowed their faith in general manager Reggie McKenzie on Friday night. In turn, he expressed his support for one of Oakland's most troubled players.

McKenzie opened up on Saturday about Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith, adding it's uncertain whether he'll join the team this season. TMZ first reported that Smith had checked himself into rehab earlier this week.

The newly extended GM, however, isn't giving up on last year's signing.

"We're going to support Aldon from the standpoint of the person," McKenzie said. "Whether he comes back to us or not, it has no bearing. We told him from Day 1, we care more about you than the player. So whatever he does to ensure his health, we're going to stand behind him."

This vote of confidence comes following the release of a video that allegedly shows a man who could be Smith smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. Already serving a one-year suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, Smith appeared to deny that it was him in the video, tweeting, "Good try, not me." The NFL is investigating the video.

The incident was just the latest in a string of controversies involving Smith. The promising pass rusher was involved in an August 2015 arrest after which he was charged with hit and run, DUI and vandalism. Smith was quickly released from the 49ers after four impressive seasons. He then signed with the Raiders and proved an effective pass rusher for Oakland, teaming with All-Pro Khalil Mack for 62 hurries, nine sacks and eight quarterback hits in just nine games.

When he was suspended in November, the Raiders stood behind him, stating, "Aldon has been a positive addition to the Raiders. He remains prominently in our long-term plans and we will continue to support this member of our family as he gets the help that he needs."

With all that's transpired since, that sentiment remains.

"We knew his situation," McKenzie continued. "It's not like we had blinders on. Going into last year, we knew a suspension was probable and it was going to be an uphill battle for him. He's going to have to fight the good fight, but we're not going to bail on him. He has to do his part."

Smith currently is eligible for reinstatement by the league in November.

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