Aug 2, 2008
I have to chime in on my boy Steve Smith, who I met and interviewed for our magazine cover two years ago in 2006. I knew going into the interview that he was a firecracker, but I was a little surprised at how calm and reserved he was for the interview.
My feeling, based on the encounter, his past going way back, his recent past, and of course yesterday’s “incident” is that Smith had matured and gotten past his anger management issues – but that the demon just came out, perhaps from nowhere, and hopefully for the last time.
Smith takes football very, very serious. He’s not an immature kid, he’s not a punk. Not even close. He is incredibly focused on doing everything he needs to excel, and that includes preparation off the field and in the classroom. I just think that what makes him such a great football player is basically the same thing that caused him to blow up and beat on one of his teammates.
I’m not condoning what Smith did, especially if the reports are true that it was basically a “sucker punch” on CB Ken Lucas. He lost it, and that’s not good. But I can also make an educated guess that Smith was antagonized, and I’d be shocked if the attack came unsolicited.
It’s somewhat hypocritical to praise his exploits on the field at one turn, and then lambaste him for losing his head at another. It’s a violent sport, and it’s not natural what these players are asked to do each Sunday. The only comparison would be a soldier or a warrior from days past, and those people sometimes wind up killing people. I mean, look at this guy. I’m 6’2” about 200lbs. I’m a bigger guy, but I’m not that big. Smith looks like my 11-year old son next to me.
So how exactly does a 5’9” 189lb wideout completely dominate on the field going up against the best athletes in the world who are so much bigger than him? We found out yesterday.
Yeah, Smith’s incredible fire, perhaps anger, is something to behold, but it can be dangerous if utilized in a negative fashion.
But instead of being angry with Smith, we should feel sorry for him because, again, this is not a punk kid whose priorities are out of whack. He’s probably a guy who got pushed around too much when he was a kid, or whose rough childhood continues to haunt him.