Justin Smith is viewed by many of his fellow competitors as one of the best defensive linemen of his time. He did not put up monster statistics, but there was no denying how ridiculously dominant he could be.
Aaron Rodgers was on Bill Simmons’ new HBO show recently, and he had a brief story about Smith. Rodgers prefaced it by saying Smith was one of his favorite opponents, and one of the most dominant players he had played against or watched on film. However, in the video above, you can see how a serious comment from Cowboy could crack other teams up.
My favorite example of this kinda thing was a story we heard last year from former player and current NFL analyst Ross Tucker. Really, this article is a chance to re-share that story because it still cracks me up. Here’s what Tucker said:
I remember, 2004, this will perfectly encapsulate Justin Smith, and it actually relates to something else we're going to get in to. But 2004, playing for Buffalo late in the season against Cincinnati. And we had to be up by double digits already. We were up by like two scores. We were up by 10 or 13 points, and there might have been 45 seconds left. Something like that.
And for some reason we're kicking a field goal. I don't really remember the exact situation, I don't remember why we're kicking a field goal, but we are. And I am the tight end on the extra point/field goal team, which means my job is to step in and protect the inside gap, then hinge out and protect the outside gap. But what happens is teams know you're vulnerable there, so they bring a guy in the inside gap, a guy in the outside gap, and then they have a guy just run you over because you really can't protect yourself then in that situation. It's terrible, it's brutal.
So, we're kicking a meaningless field goal, and Justin Smith just absolutely drills me, just knocks me down on to my butt, which you just kind of have to take it on extra point and field goals. Somehow, I don't know if it was on them or on us, but there was a penalty. So we had to kick it over. And I'll never forget, right when we're getting in our stance, right before we get in our stance, Justin Smith looks me in the eyes and says, "What do you say me and you kiss one more time, Tucker?" And I was like, "Are you serious?" And he said, "Yep!" And he absolutely destroyed me again.
You know, it was a meaningless play, we're gonna win the game. It was Week 15 or 16, and they were out of it, or they were gonna be out of it. The game was won, but that was just his mentality. He was going to play every play as hard as he possibly could, and he said, "What do you say you and me kiss one more time, Tucker?" I was like, "Ohhh, are you serious, Justin?" He said, "Yep!" I said great, I get to get master-blasted again, this should be fun.
And that's just what I think of when I think of Justin Smith. That's the type of guy he was, but that play, that moment was brutal.