The Detroit Lions’ roster re-construction continued when the team signed defensive tackle Shaun Smith on Monday.
Smith, 27, participated in his first practice for the Lions on Tuesday – taking part in various training camp drills.
Head coach Jim Schwartz talked about the newest addition to his team after the morning practice.
“Obviously his size fits what we’re looking for,” said Schwartz. “We want to get bigger inside the tackles and keep funneling those balls inside with the way we play our ends, so he fits our scheme. He’s a really big person, he’s in good shape. His weight is down significantly from where it was last year… I’m excited to have him on the field, he gives us some size inside.”
Smith adds immediate size to the interior defensive line, an asset that his highly valued by the coaching staff and front office. Smith is expected to play a significant role in the team’s rotation at defensive tackle and should be an on-the-field improvement. Any concerns that may be surrounding the five-year pro are most likely related to some off-the-field issues – primarily stemming from an incident with then-teammate Brady Quinn last December.
Smith and Quinn allegedly were involved in a heated argument which culminated in a punch to Quinn’s face. However, there has been very little public discussion about the incident from either party.
Still, Schwartz claims that the Lions did perform their due-diligence before acquiring Smith.
“We didn’t go blind into the situation, we did research and we had good conversations. We had expectations for him, which we communicated. I feel good about where we are. I like guys with some personality, I don’t like robots on the field… but there becomes a time where it’s distracting. I just told him we don’t need to cross that line.”
In his career Smith has played for the New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. His most productive seasons were his last two, with the Browns, where he played in 26 games (starting 20), recording 98 tackles and two sacks.
Although Smith’s departure from the Browns didn’t appear to be cleanest breakup – although there was no public dirt throwing – Smith called his release from Cleveland a ‘blessing in disguise’ because it enabled him to come to Detroit.
Now, as Smith said after practice, his focus can be turned to ‘winning some games and getting to the playoffs’.