Standing in front of a throng of media, Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith wore a bright red hat — adorned with the word “Smith” in gold-plated letters — on his head, and a smile on his face.
This was Friday, the day veterans were required to report to training camp at Missouri Western, and Smith, who could be seen talking and joking with his teammates beforehand, was clearly happy to be back.
Then the cameras turned on, questions commenced, and the topic of his recently-announced three-game suspension for his DUI plea in March came up.
Did he think it was fair?
“Fair? Yeah, I guess,” Smith said. “You do the crime, you do the time.”
Has he thought about what he’s going to do during the three weeks he’s gone (when he can’t even practice with the team)?
“Nah, I haven’t gotten there yet,” Smith said. “(I’m) just excited to be back here at camp with the fellas. Can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and have some fun.”
That Smith would look forward to Saturday’s first full-squad practice is no surprise. He is coming off a career season, one in which he played with unbridled enthusiasm and racked up 50 tackles, one interception and a career-high 16 pass deflections.
On a week-to-week basis, it was hard to find a Chief who seemed to have more fun playing football than Smith did last year, so with so much football ahead of him for the next month, you’ll have to forgive him if he refuses to view his suspension as much of a distraction.
“Tomorrow I get to go out there, do the conditioning test, go out there with my guys ... I have a full preseason of work to go in (with),” Smith said. “That (suspension) is a long time from now. I’m not really worried about it.”
As for the immediate future, Smith said he wasn’t sure if he’d be running with the first team on Saturday.
He was demoted to the second team in June 2014, when he cited for driving under the influence and careless driving — the offense he was suspended for — but he earned his starting job back during the preseason and never lost it.
“I’m not worried about that at all,” Smith said of place on the depth chart. “I’m just happy to be here with my friends.”
Regardless of whether Smith runs with the starters during the camp, he says he’ll do what he can to help the plethora of young corners on the roster. As a seven-year veteran, he is easily the most experienced corner the Chiefs have, with the other seven all having four years of experience or less.
“That’s been my role since I’ve been in the NFL with anybody that’s younger than me, because all it takes is one play for me to be hurt and then they have to step in, anyway,” Smith said. “So my job is to make sure everybody around me is better, regardless of if (they’re on) first team, second team (or they’re) a safety, a linebacker. If there’s anybody I can help out on the field, I’m going to do it.”
The field, obviously, is where Smith feels at home, and he made it clear he’s looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd on Oct. 11, when the Chiefs play host to the Chicago Bears at Arrowhead Stadium.
“It’s going to be exciting — I can’t wait to get back out there with the guys, to run out that tunnel and hear the crowd chanting and screaming,” Smith said. “Seeing all that red out there, it’s going to be amazing. I can’t put into words what it’s going to be like. But it’s going to be something to see.”