Defensive end Aldon Smith, who signed with the Seahawks last week in the latest step in reviving an NFL career that has been beset by legal and other issues, is wanted in connection to a second-degree battery case in the New Orleans area, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The alleged incident occurred roughly two days after the Seahawks announced Smith’s signing Thursday. He reached agreement with the Seahawks a day after he visited the team’s facility in Renton.
The sheriff’s office confirmed the incident in a statement released Monday afternoon, noting that Smith was still at large.
According to the statement, at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, deputies responded to a call for medical assistance. When they arrived, the statement says, “they came into contact with a male victim who said he was assaulted by an acquaintance of his” earlier while standing outside a business in Chalmette, Louisiana. The statement says that during the course of the investigation detectives with the Criminal Investigations Bureau identified the suspect as Smith.
The statement said the investigation was ongoing and that anyone knowing Smith’s whereabouts should call police.
A bulletin announcing that Smith was wanted was tweeted Monday morning.
ESPN confirmed there was a warrant out for Smith’s arrest and reported that St. Bernard Parish District Attorney Perry Nicosia said Smith “allegedly choked a victim unconscious” during the confrontation that began inside a coffee house. According to WDSU-TV, the incident was captured on camera and the television station quoted Sheriff James Pohlmann as saying Smith caused “severe injuries” to the victim that warranted a state court judge to sign an arrest warrant. Smith is not from the New Orleans area but was said to have friends there. Smith was listed with an Oakland, California address in the sheriff’s office statement.
In a statement Monday afternoon, the Seahawks said they were looking into the matter.
“We are aware of the reports regarding Aldon Smith,” the statement read. “Aldon notified us and we are gathering more information. We have no further comment at this time.”
Smith signed what was reported to be a one-year contract with the Seahawks. Financial details were not immediately disclosed and his contract had not been revealed publicly as of Monday afternoon. But it was expected that his base salary would be for the veteran minimum, a non-guaranteed $990,000 and a total base package of $1.175 million. It was speculated the deal would likely include per-game roster bonuses and possibly other incentives.
Smith, 31, was suspended by the NFL for all of the 2016-19 seasons — as well as part of the 2014 and 2015 seasons — for a variety of offenses including a domestic violence arrest, a hit-and-run and one yearlong suspension for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse. He was cleared to play last year and saw action in all 16 games with the Cowboys.
Smith, a 2011 first-round draft choice out of Missouri, was a standout with the 49ers from 2011-14 — he was named an All-Pro in 2012 when he recorded 19 1/2 sacks — before his career was derailed by legal and substance-abuse issues. He played for the Raiders in 2015.
In 2018, Smith pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges as part of a plea with prosecutors in San Francisco to settle a domestic violence case. Smith also pleaded no contest to charges involving a hit-and-run accident in 2015 after a DUI charge was dropped. Smith was arrested but not charged for making a false bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport in 2014. In all, Smith had four separate NFL suspensions costing him 80 games from 2014-2020.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have not been available to the media this offseason — Carroll last spoke two days after the team’s defeat against the Rams in the wild-card round of the playoffs — so they have not had comment on the team’s signing of Smith.
A report from SI.com last week stated that the Seahawks initially offered a contract in March, but that those talks then broke down due to the team’s concerns over Smith’s “personal issues.’’ SI.com reported those issues played a role in Dallas not being interested in re-signing Smith after a season in which he had five sacks, three against the Seahawks in the third game of the year.
Seattle reportedly was interested in trading for Smith at midseason in 2020 before acquiring Carlos Dunlap from the Bengals, instead. One report stated the Cowboys declined to trade Smith to the Seahawks in part out of spite over failed negotiations for Earl Thomas in 2018.
Smith was reinstated by the NFL in March 2020, with USA Today reporting last July that Smith had been sober since July 2019.
“I was thinking in my head, ‘It’s been a long road,’” Smith said to USA Today during training camp last year. “Being back on the field after that much time off was a blessing. … I was just really grateful.”
Smith has seven career sacks against the Seahawks in the regular season — his most against any team — and two more in the 2013 NFC Championship Game won by Seattle.
It’s thought his three-sack performance against the Seahawks last year contributed to the team’s interest in signing him this spring to add to a pass rush that had already been bolstered by the re-signing of Dunlap and the signing of free agent Kerry Hyder.