New Lion Smith aims to be a factor immediately

Otis Smith <BR>AP Photo

Nothing surprises new Lions corner Otis Smith anymore. Smith has seen it all from the release of former teammate Lawyer Milloy to the benching of franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Smith has seen some crazy things in his NFL tenure. Lions' insider Mike Fowler takes a look. Plus, Lions may not be done shopping yet.

(ALLEN PARK) Nothing surprises new Lions corner Otis Smith anymore.

Smith has seen it all from the release of former teammate Lawyer Milloy to the benching of franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Smith has seen some crazy things in his NFL tenure.

So if some players were holding their breath hoping to hear the phone ring, not Smith. He's learned to take every day, every play and every paycheck in stride. Sure he was concerned, but to hear him tell it, no more than normal.

"I'm concerned in week sixteen [when] I'm on a team, if I'm still going to be on the team. It's always a concern. If you feel comfortable, you'll be gone, because there's no security no matter who you are. You just work as hard as you can possibly work for as long as they allow you to work for each and every team and so be it after that."

"When I came into the league I didn't know anything or much about football. I didn't play too much [football] until I got into this league. I am a different player. Thank God I survived this many years in the league and in life."

Smith came to the NFL as an undrafted free agent from Missouri with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990. He signed with the Jets as a Plan B free agent in 1995, joined the Patriots after not being resigned in 1996, but returned to the Jets for the 1997-99 seasons. In 2000 he re-joined the Patriots and was a key contributor to their 2001 Super Bowl championship team.

Heading into his 14th season, Smith credited his ability to stay away from serious injuries for his longevity, but somewhere along the way he developed a reputation for missing practices, something that often frustrated Patriots head coach Bill Billichick and that some observers claim led to his release in New England.

Upon his decision to release Smith this year, Billichick cited his lack of practice time. "It was a difficult roster decision that we made, but with only 10 days and limited reps in practice, we felt we had to make the move," he said.

When asked if he felt he had to prove something to his teammates and the organization, Smith said he would do his talking on the field.

"No I not out to prove anything to these guys. I'm out here to play and to help this team get to where it wants to be. That's getting on the field and performing. If I don't perform the way I'm capable of performing then I don't play."

The Lions expect Smith to step in and contribute. He and rookie Blue Adams will work in the team's nickle and dime packages.

ABOUT FACE:
Even after signing Smith, Lions president Matt Millen indicated to me yesteray that the team is not done shopping for players at the corner position.. "[I'm] very [concerned]. When you look out there and see what we have, just in terms of numbers, which is why I've got to get out there and look at these others [players working out]. We still need to strengthen that [position] because we're still weak."

Published reports indicate that Detroit has reached an agreement in principle with Alex Molden, but that Detroit needs to find salary cap space before signing the seven-year veteran who has had stops at Washington, San Diego and New Orleans. Detroit would also need to make another roster move to bring aboard Molden or any other player.

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