Shaun Smith grows inward, upward


Veteran defensive tackle Shaun Smith has vowed to put less stuff in his mouth, and to have less stuff come out of it.

Smith, who has played for the Saints, Bengals, Browns, Bengals, Chiefs, and Titans (and if I recall correctly one of the various nondescript UFL teams), is preparing for his second season in Tennessee, the first time in five years that he didn’t wear out his welcome after only one season.

But he says he’s changing.  Via a lifestyle that now includes yoga, Smith has lost 22 pounds.  That puts him at a svelte 340.

Smith also claims he won’t be as boisterous.  “I wasn’t happy with my play last season.  I was doing a lot of talking, and my play wasn’t showing up like it should have been,” Smith said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.  “Also, as you mature — I have another baby on the way — I want to try and be more of a leader and let my actions speak for themselves.  A lot of these guys listen to me, even though I am a clown.”

“This is year 10 for me.  You can still be a clown; you just have to know when to talk and when not to.”

(That’s tombstone-style wisdom right there, folks.)

Smith’s maturity comes from necessity.  With tight end Daniel Graham recently dumped by the Titans, Smith realizes he’s not guaranteed that season second in Tennessee.

“Am I worried? I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried,” Smith, 30, said.  “I have another baby on the way, another mouth to feed in November. . . .  They are always bringing new guys in like Mike Martin; that is just the nature of the business.  So I will be fighting for my job here in Tennessee, but I’ll be fighting for my job with 31 other teams.

“Who knows what might happen?  I might get traded, you never know.  All I know is I like it here, and I want to show I’m a guy worth keeping around.”

Smith in the past has at times been more trouble than he’s worth.  A reputed crotch-puncher, Smith also once allegedly punched Brady Quinn in the face and verbally assaulted former Browns G.M. George Kokinis.  And Smith is the guy who once said that, indeed, Chad Ochocinco punched Marvin Lewis in the face during halftime of the January 2006 playoff game between the Bengals and the Steelers.

The fact that the guy is still in the league despite years of overeating and overtalking and overcrotch-punching suggests that he has an overabundance of football talent.  If the Titans don’t want him to use those skills this season, someone else likely will.

At least for one year.