Schwartz: Kevin Smith is the “best story in the NFL”

AP

Here’s what Lions coach Jim Schwartz had to say about running back Kevin Smith after he put up over 200 yards from scrimmage and two scores on the Panthers:

“There’s a lot of great stories in the NFL, and I’m sure there’s a lot of storylines today,” Schwartz said via the Detroit News. “But I think the NFL would be hard-pressed to find a better story than Kevin Smith.”

Mark Herzlich starting (and playing well overall) last night for the Giants was pretty cool. But we can’t really argue with Schwartz here.

Smith was the most likable member of the 0-16 Lions. He gave great effort every week and never seemed to give in to the misery. Smith has struggled even more in the years since.

He tore his ACL in 2009 and never seemed fully recovered in 2010. Smith couldn’t find an interested team this offseason. The Lions signed every scrap heap back possible before turning to Smith: Keiland Williams, Mike Bell, Eldra Buckley, and Jerome Harrison have all been on the roster. They tried to trade for Ronnie Brown.

When the Lions finally called Smith three weeks ago, he made sure he was ready.

“It’s not really tough, if that’s your will,” Smith said. “I’ve always believed in myself and my ability. I’ve had some tough breaks injury-wise. But I believe in myself. When I was getting up and going to train, and I’d kiss my son and walk out the door, there really was no motivation.”

Smith was so overcome by emotions that he had to take a moment to gather himself on the bench Sunday. It was a powerful moment, but the Lions aren’t into charity cases. Smith’s re-emergence could help solve the team’s long-struggling running game.

It makes you wonder why the team didn’t call Smith earlier.

54 responses to “Schwartz: Kevin Smith is the “best story in the NFL”

  1. Did anyone else notice Tony Scheffler doing his Lions TD celebration on Sunday? He was imitating the commercial where the guy in grand central station started the flash mob dance too early. It was a classic!

  2. And I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Lions the last 6 games of the season — Packers, @Saints, Vikings, @Raiders, Chargers, @Packers … yikes!

  3. i will probly take the points on turkey day, figuring detroit will shake down the pack.

    but i see detroit losing in weeks 13, 16 and in week 17 – if the pack wants it.

    the schedule seems kind to the bears. i see them going 11-5 even with hanie. take the unders.

  4. I would take Alex’s story over Kevin Smith’s any day of the week. Especially since Alex has done it for the whole season, not just one game cause the opposing defense had no tape on Kevin.

  5. Alex Smith might have the best story in the NFL this year. He had an entire city give up on him and downright HATE him. They wanted him gone. Everyone lost faith in him except himself. Now he’s leading a team to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade and will almost definitely be signing a long-term deal.

  6. althought this is not related to the story but Tony Scheffler has the most ugly and entertaining TD celebrations

  7. Love the story…best story…debatable…but everyone’s rooting for the guy so hopefully he can keep it up.

    Redemption is the theme of men, and by nature, transferred to sports. We love the downtrodden to become a winner.

    How else would we get to engage in our second favorite pastime…bringing them down afterwards?

  8. Rex Ryan Jr. must have missed a lot of well written profile pieces I’ve read about remarkable people, like James Starks for instance.

  9. babyjesus69 says:
    Nov 21, 2011 6:44 PM
    I would take Alex’s story over Kevin Smith’s any day of the week. Especially since Alex has done it for the whole season, not just one game cause the opposing defense had no tape on Kevin.

    Alex Smith is 30th in yards per game. Yes he has drastically cut back on the interceptions but what is he really doing statistically that he hasn’t done in years previous? And please don’t say winning because SF’s winning has to do with a lot more than A. Smith.

  10. Notice how he said “today.” He wasn’t referring to the entire year, but thay particular day. Smith is definitely the come back/feel good story of the year.

  11. It’s a good story b/c despite the entire NFL including his former team ignoring him, he ran and worked out every day to keep himself in shape—-amazing discipline. To come back on this short notice and contribute like that? Amazing. Also never lost faith in himself, despite everybody seemingly forgetting him.

    It’s a testament to his work ethic, people in Detroit always knew about that, there were doubts about his ability. Definitely looks like he’s fully recovered now from that knee. The time away seems to have done him some good. Couldn’t be happier for him.

  12. CS had a good game only one lets see what happen down the road.
    I think the Lions need 4 more wins to get a seat in the playoff.
    I had them going 10-6 now I am hoping for 11-5 what a wonderful year for
    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS

  13. jtfresh1 says:
    Nov 21, 2011 6:35 PM
    Did anyone else notice Tony Scheffler doing his Lions TD celebration on Sunday? He was imitating the commercial where the guy in grand central station started the flash mob dance too early. It was a classic!
    ————————–
    Yea I am supprised the TD wasent called back.

  14. uhh im pretty sure its a little tougher to cure oneself of bone cancer rather than a bad knee. he’s not the only player to come back from an ACL tear..listen, i respect the guy but no way his story outshines Herzlich’s. and im an Eagles fan

  15. I think Smith’s performance speaks for itself and every fan of the NFL is aware of it……we certainly didn’t need Schwartz to point it out to us other than the fact that Schwartz is getting more n more like Rex Ryan…….he loves to hear himself talk and can’t seem to find a camera or microphone he doesn’t like. He didn’t seem to be that way up until this year so I wonder what made him “change”.

  16. He was in pretty good shape, but not great shape, his first tour of duty with the Lions. This time, he’s got a lot more burst and wiggle. He appears to be in great shape, and was making people miss yesterday. That would seem to be the difference.

  17. Why is Alex Smith in this conversation? I fail to see the feel good story with him. He’s not the reason the niners are winning but he’s finally the reason they are not losing. If not been for a lockout he may have been at the very least making 7 figures as a backup somewhere. He would have still been in the league probably fighting for a job. He wouldn’t have been waiting 9 weeks for a phone call or NFL pay check.

  18. I always thought jahvid best was drafted to be a good change of pace back to split with smith, who was a stud with injury issues that needed a good backup. Suprised they let him go in the first place, and lucky to get him back. He looks fressssssh as hell out there. Superb add by lions. And fantasy teams.

  19. He didn’t tear his ACL. He tore all three of the major ligaments in his knee, similar to the Dante Culpepper injury in 2005 in against the Bengals. The triad injury as it is called is one of the toughest in sports to recover from. Its even tougher for a running back. You have to rehab each ligament individually.

    He injured it at the end of 2009 season. Now here he is finally healthy, hungry and in the best shape of his life.

    Good for you Kevin! Way to overcome adversity. Love the fact your on our team.

  20. poundtherock says:
    Nov 21, 2011 6:48 PM
    Alex Smith might have the best story in the NFL this year. He had an entire city give up on him and downright HATE him. They wanted him gone. Everyone lost faith in him except himself. Now he’s leading a team to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade and will almost definitely be signing a long-term deal.

    Yeah…you keep thinking that Alex Smith is the reason the Niners are 9-1…

    Probably has nothing to do with the best front 7 in all of football…

  21. “Smith was the most likable member of the 0-16 Lions. He gave great effort every week and never seemed to give in to the misery”

    So Megatron catching 1,300 yards from 5 different qb’s and not playing the full season wasn’t likable? I’m not taking away from K Smith, he is a hard worker and I am so happy for him to be back and looking better than ever, and his mentality is very likeable, but I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call him the most likeable. Anyhoo, lets hope he can continue running well!

  22. It seems like speed players aren’t the same 1-year out from ACL surgery, if they get back at all. After a year, they get back to playing, but they’re not up to speed or as agile as they were before the injury. It seems to take another half a year or even another full year before the guy is all the way back.

    Hopefully this means that Smith is back to his former self… but there are still too many variables to say for sure.

  23. It’s always good when guys come out of the shadows and prove their worth. It’s one of the very best things about pro football. But for something more inspiring, Google [Packers’ Starks becomes guiding light for his hometown].

  24. straightbiznesses says:

    Lets see him top 100 yards on a defense thats not the Panthers
    ____

    He actually went over 200 yards and 3 scores, I don’t care who you are and what team your playing that is still a tremendous performance

    As for those saying cancer survivor > ACL comeback, I think your missing the point. This story is not about overcoming an injury or disease, its about a young man who believed in himself when no one else did and took the opportunity he was given and made the most of it

    Congrats to Kevin Smith and I hope nothing but the best for him!

  25. First – one successful game does not qualify as a great comeback story and second – Schwartz has lost all credibility to point out what does or does not constitute inspiration. If he is the source – every late hit from suh represents “great effort” and every errant throw from Stafford represents “hurricane force winds”.

  26. poundtherock says: Nov 21, 2011 6:48 PM

    Alex Smith might have the best story in the NFL this year. He had an entire city give up on him and downright HATE him. They wanted him gone. Everyone lost faith in him except himself. Now he’s leading a team to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade and will almost definitely be signing a long-term deal.

    ——————————–
    Sorry, but Smith isn’t “leading” the Niners to the playoffs. Their defense is.

  27. Here’s a better story – The Lions brought only 7 wins into the highly anticipated showdown with the undefeated Packers and left with those same 7 wins. This was supposed to be a battle of two 10-0 teams on Thanksgiving.

    What’s the matter Detroit, couldn’t live up to your own hype?

    Packers 42, Lions 27

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