"I could go out there and get a hell of a suntan on both arms and be cool,'' he said. "But I want to be able to block out any thought of my comfort level and just concentrate on the job I have to do. No matter what the elements happen to be.'' "
That's from Don Banks' "Snap Judgments" article on SI.com. And it left me very impressed with Troy Smith. That little anecdote is the sort of story that gets told on the day someone is elected into the Hall of Fame after a career marked by hard work in an uphill battle. Suddenly he has me believing that he's the sort of guy who can prove the critics wrong. He can buck the trend of Heisman Trophy winners who don't work out in the NFL. He can maybe even be the kind of quarterback that Michael Vick could have been if he'd had any kind of work ethic.
This story about Smith tells me that he will not allow himself to fail. It's entirely possible that he'll get converted to WR at some point, and be used as an Antwaan Randle El-type weapon who can throw passes on trick plays. Or he'll get to be Baltimore's next quarterback and Brian Billick (if anyone can do it it's Billick) will find a way to utilize his unique talents to make him a Pro Bowler. Smith has shown an understanding of his place in the league and on the team, which speaks to his maturity. He didn't expect the road to be paved smoothly for him.
How often is the Heisman Trophy winner the steal of the draft? In time, that may be the case for 2007.