When the Ravens drafted Troy Smith in the 2007 NFL Draft, most thought it was a good investment of a fifth round pick. Smith at the time was the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner.
But like most fifth round picks, Smith struggled and bounced from the Ravens to the 49ers to Canada and to the Steelers.
Yesterday the Steelers sent Smith packing, probably signaling the end of his NFL career.
The former Ohio State Buckeye is an interesting guy. Teammates seem to like him and he possesses the desirable traits of a leader. It’s been said that if Smith was amongst 10 guys in the cafeteria and nine of them were listening, the one doing the talking would be Smith.
I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Smith while hosting the Bart Scott Show back in 2007. He’s bright, articulate and captivating. Besides the fact that he is vertically challenge by NFL standards, he’s very athletic, has a good arm to go with big and strong hands uncommon for his size.
So why did he fail when others of similar stature (Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia) succeeded?
The guess here is that Smith has issues with authority and that proves to be too challenging for coaches particularly for a marginally productive player.
A principal of a local school, who once had Smith as a high school student in Cleveland, shared some not so flattering about him as a teen-aged student athlete. He was however complimentary of Smith’s good friend and high school mate Ted Ginn, Jr.
Perhaps you’ll recall the sideline run-in with Mike Singletary (video below) when Ginn comes to the defense of Smith.
Maybe you remember Smith’s trade request back in 2009. He and his agent campaigned to get Smith back to the shores of Lake Erie, even going so far as to suggest that Smith would crawl from Baltimore back to Cleveland, hoping to be a starter somewhere, someway, somehow.
It didn’t happen. Cleveland wasn’t interested.
As a member of the Ravens, Smith had his iPod cranked up one day while showering following a practice session. When he emerged a cleanlier man, he realized that someone had turned down the volume on his iPod. In a very demonstrative and profane way Smith demanded to know who was responsible for the dialed down decibels.
Standing behind Smith was the culprit – John Harbaugh.
Smith creates a little too much noise in more ways than one for a backup quarterback.
Consequently the destination of his next “crawl” is probably north of the border.