What they found were highlight reels of a young MAC linebacker who was setting records every step along the way. Black-and-gold faithful envisioned James Harrison 2.0 coming from a MAC school and being the “high motor” outside linebacker the team loves to root for.
Throughout the offseason, Smith was on the field, but news on the versatile linebacker was scarce. Fans awaited their first chance to see Smith up close and personal at training camp. When fans flocked to Saint Vincent College what they saw was Smith standing on the sideline, not terrorizing offenses.
An apparent abdominal injury sidelined Smith for almost the entire camp, and he has yet to play a snap throughout the first two preseason games. When Mike Tomlin was asked if the sixth-round pick was falling behind by missing so much practice time, his answer was simple.
Not really a glowing endorsement for Smith’s chances of making the 53-man roster, but that doesn’t mean Smith is giving up on his dream of making an NFL roster. His first step is getting back on the practice field, something he finally did on Monday. And his teammates let him know it.
“It’s fun that they tease me a bit, but it’s true,” Smith told Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s what, my first day back in 17 days? What I had wasn’t a minor injury. It’s something big. I’m just blessed that I’m back as quick as I am and ready to play ball.”
While Sutton wouldn’t reveal the exact injury he suffered at the beginning of camp, he is just ready to get back on the field and prove his worth to the Steelers organization.
“It’s frustrating, but you can’t think about the negativities of being out and being a rookie at the same time because it will eat away at you and put more pressure on you and you’ll end up playing worse,” Smith said.
“I knew the time was ticking. I didn’t really read too much into it. I just knew I had to get back on the field and play fast.”
What is possibly the most stressful part of this scenario for Smith is how he has just two games to prove himself. But then again, at least he has two games.
“That’s the best thing about it: I have two games,” Smith said. “It would be bad if I only had one game. But I have half the games. I think it’s a blessing that I’ve come back this fast from what I had. It’s going to be fun. I have two games. That’s more than enough film to show what I can do.”
Will Smith wreck 53-man roster predictions? Or will he become a player who is going to do nothing but hope to make another roster, or be signed to the Steelers’ practice squad? Only time will tell, but time isn’t an asset Smith has at his disposal.