- Associated Press - Friday, November 4, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith plans to return to football in two weeks, optimistic the NFL will grant his wish.

“Hopefully, soon,” he said Thursday night of being allowed back in the league.

The menacing pass rusher applied for reinstatement from the NFL late last month, asking Commissioner Roger Goodell to let him play again when his yearlong suspension is over Nov. 17 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Smith looked fit, strong and was in great spirits while attending the Oklahoma City-Warriors NBA game from a baseline courtside seat Thursday night.

“I’ll be back in two weeks, you can ask me all the questions then,” he said with a smile.

He was banned for one year last November for violating the substance abuse policy. That stemmed from an arrest in August 2015 on charges of drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism. The 49ers immediately released Smith , who had his fifth run-in with the law since joining the NFL as a first-round pick and seventh overall by San Francisco in 2011.

The 27-year-old Smith, who has 47 1/2 sacks in 59 career games, signed with Oakland last September and played nine games before being suspended by the NFL for a second time.

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