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NFL Rumors: Aldon Smith courted by Buccaneers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the running to sign Aldon Smith, as were the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The pass rusher signed with the Oakland Raiders today.

From an on-field perspective, signing Smith makes perfect sense. The Bucs need a pass-rusher desperately, and Smith has 44 sacks in just 50 NFL games since entering the NFL in 2010. But Smith has been haunted by off-field incidents, leading to a nine-game suspension last year and his release by the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason after his third (!) DUI arrest.

This is just further confirmation that the Bucs do not care about off-field issues one bit. The players they've reportedly been interested who have had significant off-field issues since Lovie Smith became the head coach include Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Richie Incognito and now Aldon Smith. That's not to mention drafting Jameis Winston with the first overall pick after a series of off-field incidents, though most of those were minor and not comparable to those of the previously-mentioned players. Lovie Smith believes in rehabilitating players and giving them a second chance, but this feels more like just not caring as long as these players can contribute.

That's the NFL, though. Eventually, the need to win overrules any considerations for good behavior off the field.