NFL Free Agent Signings: Cleveland Browns Sign Notre Dame Product Brian Smith

Brian@@IrishChesterCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2011

Smith (middle) congratulating teammate Ethan Johnson
Smith (middle) congratulating teammate Ethan JohnsonJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Given that six months of offseason free-agent signings are being condensed into a matter of weeks, it's no surprise that a plethora of deals went down today in the NFL.

You will have to pardon the numerous posts that will ensue, but there are several Irish players who were signed today and each deserves a separate shout out. Bear with me.

Brian Smith, an outside linebacker and three-year starter who eventually lost his post but earned his way back into the starting lineup, signed a deal with the Cleveland Browns today.

His career was certainly one of ups and downs. He almost wound up playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but when an offer from his father's alma mater came, he jumped at the chance to join the Irish in 2007.

Smith is the perfect embodiment of what it means to belong to the Notre Dame family. He eats, sleeps and breathes Notre Dame.

Oh, and he wears his heart on his sleeve while giving it his all on the field. While he may not be the most athletically gifted player on the field, he can make up for it with his determination and hard work.

Congratulations to Smith and his family! For some nostalgia, check out Smith's career highlights.


Bonus

My favorite Brian Smith moment was during the 2008 victory over Michigan at Notre Dame Stadium. Pay close attention to No. 58 around the 3:00 mark of this video for his fumble recovery and subsequent celebration in the monsoon that struck just as the game resumed in the fourth quarter.

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