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New Raiders LB Aldon Smith expected to play

New Raiders LB Aldon Smith expected to play

The Raiders signed troubled star pass rusher Aldon Smith on Friday and intend to play him in a limited role on Sunday, according to league sources. Smith, who missed virtually all of camp after his early release by San Francisco, is still obviously working into game shape and is just digesting Oakland’s scheme, but that won’t keep him from being a potential difference-maker against the Bengals.

The Raiders have him installed in some sub packages, particularly on third downs, and are eager to see him work with emerging force Khalil Mack in the pass rush. Smith’s speed and natural pass moves don’t require too much scheme, and the amount he plays will be dictated by how his body responds.

Smith remains under review by the NFL for his latest arrest, and a lengthy suspension is quite possible for the repeat offender. Smith missed nine games last season due to suspension, has a lengthy history of off-field offenses and was charged with three misdemeanors by the Santa Clara district attorney’s office on Friday. The league had been awaiting to see if there would be any further action taken by law enforcement.

The Raiders have been given no indication to this point that any discipline toward Smith would be forthcoming by Sunday, and the NFL has said that Smith can play while the league continues to assess the situation. It could end up being a short stint with the Raiders — he signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal — but Oakland expects to get a chance to see what he can do in at least a limited time frame, unless the NFL imposes additional discipline.

Aldon Smith could be a difference-maker  in the Bengals-Raiders game.  (USATSI)
Aldon Smith could be a difference-maker for the Raiders. (USATSI)

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