Lions running back Kevin Smith has had an on-again, off-again run in Detroit, the only team for which he has played during five NFL seasons.
Though on the roster to end the season, it definitely has become off again, given that Smith finished the season off the field. And he’s not happy about it.
“It’s a business and I’m not a coach,” Smith said Thursday, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com. “I just did what I was told, but it’s very disappointing. Very, very disappointing, especially coming off the year I had last year coming back. Being healthy, came back last year with eight games, finished second on the team in touchdowns in a quick eight games. Finished right behind Calvin [Johnson]. Obviously, I just felt like, and I think my game showed, that I had something to bring to the table.”
Smith played in 12 games last season, but he started only the first two. And he finished with only 134 yards rushing after scoring a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in a season-opening win over the Rams.
“There was never an answer given as to why,” Smith said of his lack of playing time. “I think I dealt with it like a professional, and in my mind, I would have been able to deal with it easier if there was something told to me like, ‘Hey Kevin, you need to work on this.'”
The return of Mikel Leshoure from a two-game suspension ended Smith’s time as a starter. He finished the season as a healthy scratch.
“I found out 30 minutes before the game, but that’s kind of how the season was,” Smith said. “I never really imagined that. In my eyes, I’ll never look at it this way, but I guess I wasn’t good enough on a 4-12 team, which is basically the gist of it. I guess the guys that were in front of me made enough plays to keep me on the bench.
“At the end of the day, how many dress on Sunday? I wasn’t part of that 53 dress on Sunday to help the team.”
He still said he has no complaints (we’d hate to hear what he’d be saying if he did), and that he “love[s] this organization.” Even though he’s due to become a free agent once again and despite the fact that it appears he’s not in the team’s plans, injuries or suspensions could lead the Lions back to the guy they left out of the lineup the last time they played.