California Cool – The Real Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith sits by his locker, cruising through email, chatting with teammates and reporters like a ten year veteran.

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The rookie cornerback from Colton, CA, via Colorado University, carries himself with a calm, almost disinterested demeanor. Lots of rookies try this, most fail. You can see it throughout the Ravens locker room. Rookies desperate to look as though they belong. Trying too hard is hard to hide.

Smith though has me convinced. He’s the real thing. From the first day of practice Smith displayed the athleticism that earned him a first round selection, and the fearlessness needed to play corner.

When asking him about facing the Steelers on his first NFL game, implying the magnitude might prove overwhelming, he just looked at me like “What do you want me to say?”

Smith encouraged the Steelers to keep talking trash. He expects it, would feel disappointed if it were to stop. But he had little desire to take part.

His veteran brethren have made clear, worrying about he rivalry leaves him vulnerable on the field. Terrell Suggs told him just not to get beat deep. He has brothers to worry about all that other stuff. Just don’t get beat deep.

Smith also spent some time in the players lounge with Colts Hall of Fame running back Lenny Moore. I don’t know what specifically they talked about, but safe to say that Moore had his full attention.

Smith told me his biggest rivalry in college was Nebraska, but believes that experience will offer little help Sunday. Most rookies fail to understand that.

He says all the right things, but anyone can do that. Believing them, and making sure others know you believe, that is rare. All part of Jimmy’s California Cool.

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