Dallas Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith said "I still feel great", despite five years away from the NFL.
The NFL reinstated Smith from an indefinite suspension earlier this month, allowing the former All-Pro an opportunity to return to American football for the first time since November 2015.
Smith's ban was lifted, with the 30-year-old's career plagued by substance-abuse and off-field problems – he was suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2015.
Despite an extended absence, Smith – who signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys – does not believe he will be impacted by his time away from the game.
"I still feel great," Smith said on Friday. "I still feel young. I still can move well. I still have a great knowledge of the game, if not better knowledge of the game. I learned a lot from the guys I played with in California and they taught me a lot of good things."
Smith added: "It has been a journey, indeed, and a journey I'm grateful for. I've had time to really work on myself and take advantage of all the support and things that have been offered to me.
"The way I look at where I am now to who I was in the past, I was a young teenage boy in a man's body, so a man on the outside but a boy on the inside. The way I handled the issues, life, was in that immature manner and that was fear-based and not just handling things the way I should have.
"With the time I've had to work on myself, it's allowed me to grow into the man that I man that I am so the man on the inside fits on how the man on the outside looks."