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10-22-2009, 10:45 AM
Mr. Smiths Go To Practice … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs (http://www.bobgretz.com/chiefs-football/mr-smiths-go-to-practice-%E2%80%A6-thursday-cup-o%E2%80%99chiefs.html#more-11332)
October 22, 2009 - Bob Gretz | Comments (16)

If your initials were K.S., then the spotlight fell on you at the Chiefs on Wednesday.

Kenny Smith spent his first day with his new teammates, signed by the Chiefs as a backup nose tackle and filling the roster spot that came open with the trade of Tank Tyler. For the 32-year old Mississippi native, it’s his first week on an active roster in six years.

Kolby Smith was back on the practice field for the first time this season, as the Chiefs activated him from the Physically Unable-To-Perform List. That’s where he’s been residing since the start of training camp as he rehabbed his right knee. He suffered a torn patella tendon in that knee against Tampa Bay last November 2nd at Arrowhead Stadium.

While these guys play on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage and have traveled very different road to get to the Chiefs practice field on Wednesday, they share one common trait: patience. Without it, both Kenny and Kolby Smith would have gone on to their next careers some time ago.

“Once you’ve got a dream, you don’t ever give up on it,” Kenny Smith said. “I never let go of it. I just kept pushing myself.”

Chiefs fans would be dreaming if they thought the addition of either Smith will make much of a difference for the ‘09 Chiefs. Between the two, Kolby Smith would have the best chance. Right now, the offense needs all the help it can get and he’s shown in the past that he can run the ball.

But Smith is not yet on the active roster. By activating him, the Chiefs now have three weeks where he can practice with the team. At any point on or before November 10th, the team can pull him onto the 53-man active roster, send him back to the PUP List for the rest of the season, or release him.

When Todd Haley speaks about Kolby Smith, it’s not hard to read between the lines and see that the Chiefs plan to activate him at some point. It’s not really a question of if, but when.

Kolby was just happy to be on the practice fields and in the mix with his teammates. He’s been forced to run and do conditioning drills on an adjacent field. Like a sick kid who’s tormented by his bedroom window overlooking a playground, Smith could only watch.

“I got lonely over there,” Smith said. “It always seemed to be me and Cedric (Smith, the Chiefs strength and conditioning coach). Sometimes I would get some visitors with guys getting nicked up in practice or the games, but nobody stayed very long. For the most part it was lonely and it feels great to be part of the family again.”

Before the Chiefs went off to training camp in Wisconsin, Smith was sure he was going to be cleared to practice and play. When he wasn’t, that was the low point on the comeback trail for him.

“I thought I was ready but they didn’t agree,” he said. “That was hard. I was shooting for the start of camp. I had to get my mind right and create a new finish line.”

Smith knows he was not quite ready to play a game on Wednesday. “I’ve got to work on some technique, some little things; get back up to speed on changes and knock some of the rust off,” he said. “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m almost there.”

Somebody asked Smith if he was going to ease his way back into the practices.

“You can’t ease through this game,” Smith said. “I just want to go out and go full speed. My goal is to go out there and help the team win, whatever that means, whether it’s running, blocking, special teams.”

Kenny Smith won’t be easing into anything either. We aren’t quite sure we have all the pieces of what he’s been through the past six years, other than the fact he’s not been on the field for a game since the 2003 season with the New Orleans Saints, who selected him in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft.

He played in the 2001-02-03 seasons with the Saints. From the 2004 season, it’s easier just to give you his transaction log. It’s lengthy:

* August 19, 2004 – Saints place him on IR list with a torn rotator cuff.
* February 23, 2005 – Declared unrestricted free agent (UFA).
* March 31, 2005 – Signed with the Oakland Raiders.
* September 4, 2005 – Placed on IR list by Raiders with knee injury.
* March 11, 2006 – Declared UFA.
* March 7, 2007 – Signed with the Tampa Bay Bucs.
* April 30, 2007 – Released by the Bucs.
* June 8, 2007 – Signed with the New England Patriots.
* August 22, 2007 – Released by the Patriots.
* April 23, 2008 – Re-signed by the Patriots.
* August 30, 2008 – Placed on IR list by Patriots with bicep injury.
* April 23, 2009 – Re-signed by the Patriots.
* June 4, 2009 – Released by the Patriots.
* October 21, 2009 – Signed with the Chiefs.

He left the Saints after the 2004 season and signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Oakland Raiders. But he ended up spending that ‘05 season on the injured-reserve list. He was out of football completely in 2006, signed with Tampa Bay the next year, but lasted only a few weeks in the off-season. Smith signed with New England that year, but did not make the team. He was back in ‘08, and ended up on the injured-reserve list before he was released last spring.

Smith also missed time because of the death of his mother. He played in 30 games for the Saints, with 10 starts. He has career numbers of 69 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and two recovered fumbles.

All that was a long time ago; his days, weeks, months and now years have been dedicated to getting back on the field. It has been a long journey. Like any player who went through the Patriots system over the last few years, he’s on the radar screen of the Chiefs, whether he played or not. GM Scott Pioli twice signed Smith in New England and the big man knew once Pioli came to Kansas City he had another option.

“He told me to stay ready and that’s what I did,” Smith said. “It gets frustrating waiting and sitting back every Sunday and watching games and seeing guys who you know you are better than. I just kept pushing myself. I knew what I wanted in my life.

“Football is the thing for me, so I just kept at it.”

How does he fit into the Chiefs defensive picture? That remains to be seen. Having not played for six years certainly puts Smith at a disadvantage. His multiple stints on the injured-reserve list raises questions about his ability to stay available.

That’s down the road. Right now, Kenny Smith is just happy to be on the field. So is Kolby Smith. On one day at least, their patience has been rewarded by the bump and grind of practice.

10-22-2009, 11:09 AM
“He told me to stay ready and that’s what I did,” Smith said. “It gets frustrating waiting and sitting back every Sunday and watching games and seeing guys who you know you are better than. I just kept pushing myself. I knew what I wanted in my life.

I wonder who he was referring to.

10-22-2009, 11:42 AM
Man, it must have been hell to Kolby. Having to be on another practice field doing repetitive drills all the while your teammates are actually playing. I cant see how he has been doing that almost everyday since camp. I hope he can come out and be what LJ hasn't.

10-22-2009, 01:36 PM
I wonder who he was referring to.