Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that newly signed defensive end Aldon Smith is in "great physical shape" and "bigger and stronger" than when he played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 (via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk):
"He is such an impressive young man and his path to Dallas is special and unique, so just thankful and blessed to be a part of this opportunity with him. You know, he wants to get back professionally and be productive. He's in great physical shape.
"It will be exciting to see him get out there for the first time. He's bigger and stronger than he was when we had a chance to compete against him there when he was with the 49ers obviously playing at an elite level. So, I think it will be exciting to see him on the field and get back into it. He's in a great place and very thankful for him being a part of the Dallas Cowboys."
Smith last played in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders in 2015. A series of legal issues—including allegations of domestic violence, the violation of a restraining order, arrest on suspicion of hit-and-run and multiple DUI charges—have kept him off the field, as the league extended a year-long suspension into an indefinite one in 2016.
But the door has been opened for Smith's return: ESPN's Todd Archer reported last Wednesday that the ex-49er and Raider had been "granted conditional reinstatement by the NFL from an indefinite suspension for violation of the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies."
Smith had 47.5 sacks in five seasons, including 19.5 in 2012.
Smith joins a Cowboys team with a new look on defense. Defensive backs Byron Jones and Jeff Heath and defensive end Robert Quinn are among those who departed in the offseason. Dallas added Smith, defensive tackles Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, among others.
The Cowboys also added Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs, who should compete for a starting position in the defensive backfield.
Dallas is favored to win the NFC East at -105 odds (bet $105 to win $100), per Caesars Palace. If Smith returns to anything close to the form he exhibited in San Francisco, where he landed on the 2012 NFL All-Pro Team, then the Cowboys could end up having bigger aspirations than a division title.