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As so often happens, news of a tragedy comes and goes and once the story is over we all move on to the next thing.
Not often enough, meaningful information about the victims emerges.
In the case of Lions defensive end Corey Smith, one of the men lost after a fishing boat overturned in the Gulf of Mexico eight days ago, there are many good things to recall.
His agent, Ron Del Duca, recently talked about Smith with Tom Robinson of the Virginian-Pilot.
“Legitimately,” Del Duca said, “he was a great kid.”
“I’m getting calls and e-mail from guys around the league, front-office people and coaches, that never even coached this kid, but they knew of him and of his character. . . .  There are kids that get it and kids that don’t.  Corey got it.”
He didn’t live his life in the flashy way that so many pro athletes choose to do.  His house, for example, didn’t reveal the wealth of a man who spent seven seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers, 49ers, and Lions.
“I was there three weeks ago,” Del Duca said.  “He’s got eight, nine rooms in there, but he’s got furniture in three.  And he’s had the place, like, six years!  I said, ‘What are you doing?’
“Corey said, ‘I only live in three rooms, I don’t need furniture in the other six.  I’ve got my big room with my big TV, got my kitchen, got my study, got my bedroom.  That’s all I need, thank you.  I’m saving my money.'”
But he was willing to spend it on folks other than himself.  Del Duca said that Smith once flew to the Virginia area on two days’ notice to appear at a football clinic Del Duca had organized.  And Smith refused reimbursement for his travel expenses.
“He says, ‘Get out, I wanted to do it.  It was fun.  See ya later,'” Del Duca said.  “Back to Tampa.”
So, basically, Smith didn’t forget the odds he beat to get to the NFL, and he took none of it for granted.
“The chances of an undrafted guy making it are slim and none to begin with,” Del Duca said.  “But he understood what it took to be a professional athlete, not only on the field — work hard, take care of yourself, don’t get in any trouble — but off the field.  He wanted to play football.  He was just a simple guy.  One of the most humble guys I’ve ever met. . . .
“More people need to know about guys like Corey.”

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Detroit Lions, Rumor Mill, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Top Stories
  1. drian says: Mar 8, 2009 2:11 PM

    Nice to read.

  2. mike quick says: Mar 8, 2009 2:18 PM

    Great story. Are we sure Florio wrote it?

  3. jd67 says: Mar 8, 2009 2:31 PM

    Smith was indeed a good guy. He was from the same town as me and beat the odds just to get out of his neighborhood, much less to make the pros. He was seen around town at various charity events, and much like Del Duca stated, was humble and thankful to be able to help out.

  4. Bigswifty says: Mar 8, 2009 2:36 PM

    I wish there were more pro football players like Corey Smith, and less like T.O. and Albert Haynesworth.

  5. MIBucs1982 says: Mar 8, 2009 2:37 PM

    Nice story, Florio.Sad that we don’t hear about such things until after something tragic has happened. We need more stories like this in the news today.

  6. dc3003 says: Mar 8, 2009 2:44 PM

    from a fellow fishermen in tampa, i wish people would take boating more serious now and use more caution, thers alotta people who think u can buy a pole and boat and go out and catch fish but theres alot more of a science to it, like checkin the weather for one, even if your not the captain, if u kno your going on a boat check the weather , thats more important than buying the gas and ice

  7. CerratoHater says: Mar 8, 2009 2:52 PM

    Thank you for knowing the importance of stories like this

  8. blitzburgh1 says: Mar 8, 2009 2:53 PM

    God has himself alot of mighty fine men on his football team.
    RIP young man.

  9. bored_of_seinfeld_jokes says: Mar 8, 2009 3:30 PM

    “Nice story, Florio.Sad that we don’t hear about such things until after something tragic has happened. We need more stories like this in the news today. ”
    So true. If not for his trafic death, we wouldn’t have known anything about his true character. And not to take anything away from the kind of guy Corey Smith was, but I’m willing to bet that the average joe NFL player is more like Corey and less like T.O., Haynesworth, or the other poster children for how not to behave like a functional member of society. Maybe PFT can do something to draw light to the positive contributions of those players that are still with us? Consider it the anti-turd watch.

  10. Eddie Drycleaner says: Mar 8, 2009 4:13 PM

    well done Mike. You could have ignored the story or just posted a link in the Sunday morning one liners.
    More parents should raise their kids the way Corey Smith’s parents did.

  11. BlackandGold says: Mar 8, 2009 4:23 PM

    Good stuff. Sounds like this guy knew how to live, that he understood what really matters in life and what doesn’t.
    It’s true that we don’t hear enough about the good guys in the NFL. The “anti-turd watch” bored_of_seinfeld_jokes suggested sounds like a great idea.

  12. patriot fan says: Mar 8, 2009 4:46 PM

    Great story. I asked a year ago if Florio could report something positive on a daily basis…like an anti-turd watch if you will. Guys like this are out there in the NFL and although reading about the troublemakers helps sell the site and get readership, I don’t think it would hurt in the least to have some balance by putting in positive stories a lot more often. Just a suggestion…by all accounts this young man was someone people needed to know about BEFORE his death. Whattya say Florio? Will you help get the word out???

  13. shoeless says: Mar 8, 2009 4:54 PM

    Nice story. Tragic loss. RIP Corey.

  14. alobar26 says: Mar 8, 2009 5:58 PM

    Nicely done, Florio…and fellow posters.

  15. mykdaneck says: Mar 8, 2009 6:31 PM

    I really would have liked to have known this about Corey before he passed. It is simply sad that it takes a person’s death to tell us he is one of the good guys.

  16. Mark Troy says: Mar 8, 2009 6:42 PM

    “Anti-Turd” watch is a good idea.
    We need to hear about the good guys more.
    You can call it the “Corey Smith list” in memoriam.

  17. DTEVENER says: Mar 8, 2009 6:46 PM

    Sad Loss one of the many players that do what they should. Sounds like a great man that had his head on right. I would have to agree it would be nice to see more stores about players that are like him.
    I think it would make people feel a lot better than all the bad press. I know it is news too.
    But so is this just took a tragic event for it to be a story.

  18. dsbean says: Mar 8, 2009 8:16 PM

    Thank you for the nice story, I really enjoyed it.

  19. mskrs says: Mar 8, 2009 10:36 PM

    Mark Troy wrote: “We need to hear about the good guys more.
    You can call it the “Corey Smith list” in memoriam.”
    What about the “Cooper-Smith List”? By all accounts, Marquis Cooper was a nice guy, as well.

  20. researchALLwars says: Mar 9, 2009 8:39 AM

    count my vote for the COREY SMITH LIST.
    R.I.P #93
    go Lions!

  21. joeybuttafucco says: Mar 9, 2009 11:51 AM

    Just sit right back and hear a tale a tale of a fateful trip. Thats started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a might sailing man. The skipper brave and sure. Four passengers set sail that day for a 3 hout tour a 3 hour tour. The weather started getting rough the tiny ship was tossed if not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minnow would ne lost

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