Titans' Shaun Smith Is My AFC South Crush of the Week

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 31, 2012

Smith is a big man, courtesy Tennessean.com (GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN)
Smith is a big man, courtesy Tennessean.com (GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN)

I'm in love with a guy that has four career sacks in eight seasons.

No, I'm not afraid to admit it.

Shaun Smith made news this week in Tennessee because of his interest in hot yoga. While I am neither hot nor interested in yoga, I loved the story, and I love what it says about Smith.

Smith has had a journeyman career. He's already played for five different franchises, and has only spent consecutive seasons in the same city twice. He's never had a huge impact, and his primary skill has been "being a large man."

What's so impressive about Smith is that he's embodying three characteristics that you love to see from an NFL player closer to the end of his career than the beginning.

First, he's working hard to prolong his career. I love that Smith has analyzed what he needs to do to improve as a player and help his team. He's not taking anything for granted. Those extra years of income can go a long way after the lights of the stadium dim.

Second, he's getting healthy. Ex-players often suffer serious health problems after leaving the league, but Smith has worked hard to get himself fit and has established a connection with a lifestyle that is repeatable and reproducible long after he leaves the NFL.

He's also developing new skills. Teaching any kind of class is a challenge, and he's managing to overcome any self-consciousness that might come with being an NFL player/yoga instructor, and is helping others get fit while developing himself as well.

Oh, and did I mention he's doing it all for charity?

Smith has had a good, solid NFL career, even if it hasn't been spectacular. Regardless of how many years he has left in the league, it seems like he's set himself up for an even better career as a citizen after he retires.

So hugs and kisses, Shaun Smith. You are my AFC South Crush of the Week.