The Tennessee Titans cut defensive lineman Shaun Smith last week to make room for younger players such as Karl Klug, Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin, Sen'Derrick Marks and Zach Clayton to get some playing time and become the tackles the Titans want them to be.
Smith had an amazing 2010 season with the Chiefs (56 tackles and a sack, second-best year of his career) and came to the Titans as a restricted free agent in 2011. Of course, if you look at his numbers only from 2011, you can see why the Titans may have decided to cut him—25 tackles and a sack.
How quickly we forget that there was a lockout last year. Last year everyone saw the effects of the lockout—increases in injuries, sloppy play and horrible coaching decisions.
How is this environment something in which a new player can come into and thrive? New playbook, new teammates, new coaches, etc. Smith had to come into a new school and had to immediately take a final.
Each team needs one of those guys—a guy who does whatever it takes to win.
Be it work hard on the ground, rally the troops or even the once in a while not-so-legal thing. This offseason, Smith took up hot yoga and credits the activity for helping him lose 15 pounds heading into the 2012 season.
Also last season Smith was called out two weeks in a row for an alleged grabbing incident—nothing was proven—but I bet you the next few weeks, teams will make sure to have Smith's number memorized.
Not every guy in a helmet is quick to give back. Smith is. In May 2012, he instructed two classes at Hot Yoga Plus in Nashville with proceeds going to his foundation, which benefits at-risk youth. He had to go through a 200-hour teacher training in order to do that!
Smith also owns a barber shop in Dallas where he gave away free haircuts to anyone that brought in a book. He then donated the books to local schools. This idea was derived as a kick-off for his new partnership with a education-based company called ClickN Kids.
Who wouldn't want a guy like this on their roster?