Kansas City Chiefs DE Shaun Smith spent an hour with 810 WHB's Steven St. John last week and the result was, as expected, a very entertaining 40 minutes of radio with the Deep Freeze. I remember writing at the beginning of the season that I wasn't sure how Smith would fit onto the team because there were a lot of things stacked against the guy.
First, he comes in here and lines up behind the No. 3 overall pick from 2009. You don't expect that guy to be playing much. "The reason I came here was the opportunity," he says. "I felt I had the chance to compete for a starting job." He says Todd Haley and Scott Pioli told him they expected him to compete for a starting job. So, that's what he did.
Second, he's a jokester and, when I first saw that, it made me wonder how his personality would fit with the Chiefs. As it turns out, it fits perfectly. In fact: "I'm actually a leader now. My opinion counts somewhat." He says he feels like his teammates are like his brothers. I'll admit, I didn't see that coming.
What I like about Smith is that he's honest when it comes to looking at the Chiefs and their place in the NFL. "Even when we were 3-0 people thought we were a joke," he says, citing Peter King as one of the guys picking KC to win four or five games this year. "People still thought we were a joke. We gained respect after we held Peyton Manning to no touchdowns."
Smith's role on the team has transitioned from a reserve to a starter and he's certainly part of the solution these days. Since he says his teammates are like his brothers, he's willing to tease them like a brother. Here he is on Derrick Johnson's knack for dropping interceptions:
"He needs to get a jugs machine to catch the ball more. He could lead the league in interceptions at this point. He's got at least 10 by now. His locker's right next to mine so I give him crap all the time. He could have ten and lead the league. He's gotta do it how the rookie does it back there, 29. He doesn't wear any gloves."
The entertainment value is there, no doubt, and the guy can play. It seems to be that, though he's a bit unconventional, there's room of the "right 53" for him. I hope he's back in 2011.