Kevin Smith disappointed the Lions didn’t use him more in 2012


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  “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.

27 responses to “Kevin Smith disappointed the Lions didn’t use him more in 2012

  1. I thought he had a solid start, but Leshoure is definitely better. If I were him, I wouldn’t bring up the fact that the team did so poorly. He wouldn’t have made a difference as the starter. Take the high road man, and start training for next season to try and earn more touches.

  2. It wasn’t just you, Kevin. The Lions didn’t know what they were doing in 2012. The Lions, aka: Team Schizophrenia.

  3. The Lions needed help at RB this year and still didn’t use him. He’ll be one year older, and now he has revealed his ugly side with some clearly backhanded comments.

    He could have told his prospective new team how he felt about his situation and how he was handled without being given any answers as to why he didn’t play, but instead he’d rather open up to the public to make sure that his ego doesn’t take a hit at the expense of insulting the team’s opinion of his worth and their decision to not use him.

    Goodbye Kevin. Good luck trying to find another team that is looking for an ungrateful personality to deliver a mediocre-at-best performance.

  4. for real though, what have michelle leshore and boink bell done that they should see the field before smith?

  5. It was very bizarre how Smith was treated. Obviously they wanted to see what LeShoure could do and Bell was a pleasant surprise but I thought Smith was a little more versatile and would have been useful, especially in 3rd down situations. At least tell the guy why he isn’t starting and give him something to improve on.

  6. Don’t forget that Smith was on the Bears for a short time. Granted, injuries took away from it, but he was there.

    I have to agree with him. He had a 2 TD opener only to be tossed on the scrap heap for a marginally talented player. Leshoure is young, but he’s not a feature back by any means. They could have mixed Smith in, and should have. Considering he was the 2nd best receiving option on the team at the end of the 2011-2012 season and played a big role in the team making the playoffs that, you’d think they would’ve worked him in more this year.

    Neither Leshoure nor Bell did anything to set themselves apart this season. Yeah, they had some productive games, but neither had any “game changing” moments like Smith did last season and to start this season. With all the injuries and problems at WR, they could have used Smith’s explosiveness as a receiver out of the backfield.

    Short list of teams that should give Smith a call that could use a guy like him: Packers, Steelers, Dolphins, Cardinals.

    Packers need a decent third-down back that doesn’t cost a ton, Steelers need a decent back…period, Dolphins will need to replace Bush’s versatility with something, and the Cardinals just need anyone not named Wells.

  7. As a Lions fan I just assumed there was some sort of lingering injury that led to his lack of playing time. I understand wanting to give Leshoure a good workload and then having Bell get some carries…but I am surprised Smith did not see the field more once Burleson and Young and Broyles were gone. I would think there would have been a way to use him in some sort of way. When he has been healthy, he has had.some big games…so if I were Kevin, I would be frustrated too. However, Kevin may have just been granted the best opportunity of his career…free agency and a path to an organization that doesnt create new ways to lose every year…

  8. Great guy…probably could have been a decent player in the right situation, although he always had a hard time staying healthy. He still would have been better than LeShoure was this year.

  9. Unfortunately for Smith, with his injury history he’ll never be more than a fill in or 3rd down back. When he’s healthy he can catch and pass block but you really can’t count on him being consistently able to take the field.

  10. I thought you should have played Kevin! Bell was decent out of the back field, but you would have been more productive then leshoure….

  11. Yep, you finished 2nd on the Lions, behind only Calvin Johnson, finishing with 2 TDs.

    That’s the good news.

    The bad news is you were in an 18-way tie for 43rd place in the NFL, among RBs, with 2 TDs.

    So there’s that.

  12. You were just too good, Kevin. You see, 2012 was all about getting higher draft picks to put the team over the top (because that’s worked so well in the past). So they had to play backs with even less burst than you in order to stay non-competitive. There was just no room for you in the Lions four plays: predictable short pass, predictable run between the tackles, end around, and heave it to Calvin (all run at a deadly slow pace so the opposing defense can make maximum adjustments).

    Feel lucky that you may be able to play for a team that uses its personnel wisely and isn’t stuck in an offense concocted by someone who hasn’t won doodly-squat anywhere in the NFL.

  13. It’s the team’s decision who to start, and Smith is accepting of that. What he’s asking for is a little professional courtesy to tell him why he isn’t playing. If there is something he isn’t as good at as the other guys, then even if you’re not going to play him, at least provide the guy with constructive criticism so he can try to improve as a player. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Treat your employees with a little respect and even if you’re not going to play them, at least help them to become a better player by telling him what he should improve on.

    Frankly I don’t think it had anything to do with Smith’s talent, as Leshoure is a very mediocre RB and Bell didn’t do anything Smith couldn’t do. For some reason I’d bet the coach doesn’t like him, and chose to start guys he liked more. Which doesn’t make sense, I think Smith is a good guy who works hard, keeps his mouth shut all year and just wants to do whatever he can to help the team win. And the coach didn’t have the decency to even tell him what he should improve on. That would help him to land a job on another team considering the lions will likely not resign him.

  14. Well let’s just say that Smith can’t break any tackles and goes down when he’s barely even touched in the shoulder, Smith never stays healthy either only his rookie season he played all 16 games. His best stats were from that year 238 att, 976 yds, 4.1 avg, 8 td. Leshoure is slower yes but way stronger and actually breaks some tackles, he’d 215 att, 798 yds, 3.7 avg, 9 td in 14 games, mssing two because of suspension. He’s got a bigger upside then Smith ever had, Smith is a weakling and needs to be gone, and as far as Bell goes he’s a much better receiver then Smith and Leshoure are, Bell had 82 att, 414 yds, 5.0 avg, 3 td, along with 52 catches for 485 yds.

  15. dabears 2485- You sure you aren’t thinking of Kevin Jones being with the Bears?

    I have to agree that I was disappointed with Smith not being used more. Especially when Leshoure and Bell started getting fumblitis. It seemed every time the situation was clutch, they’d drop the ball.

    Smith has been injury prone and the fact that he had 905 carries at Central Florida, including 450 his junior year, probably has something to do with that. It would prematurely age any player. However, he does bring something to the table and as with many players the Lions have had over the years, he seemed to be misused and underutilized. As mentioned above, he is viable out of the backfield and he also gets to the edge better than the others, so where he may not break as many tackles, he’s also avoiding some, which Mikel and Bell seemed to have trouble doing.

    Kevin, if you have the option, do yourself a favor and get the heck out of town and get a fresh start. Your hard work and good character will be appreciated on a team that knows how to win.

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