Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/25/12
Alphonso Smith heard the trade rumors. He just tried to ignore them. The report first surfaced in late February from the NFL Networks Jason LaConfora, who said that the Lions are willing to move Smith and have shopped him to at least one team. In his two years with Detroit, Smith leads the team in interceptions with eight, but hes also been called out for his undisciplined nature at cornerback. He has a tendency to dismiss the game plan in order to go for the big play. Please forgive my frankness to be blunt with you, I really didnt care, Smith said of the trade talk. It didnt happen. It still may happen. You never know. I dont care about reports or rumors. Only thing I can focus on is Im a Detroit Lion and Im a Detroit Lion until Im not. I want to be here. Ive grown a lot with the scheme and the players and the things that the coaches want. But that decision is way above my pay grade. My job is to come in and play, not deal in personnel or whether Im getting traded or not. Really dont care. Smith, a second-round draft pick by Denver in 2009, was acquired shortly before the season two years ago in a trade for tight end Dan Gronkowski. In some ways, Smith, 26, appears to be coming up to a potential turning-point season in his career. Which way is he going to go? This is the final year of his contract with Detroit. Hes in the mix to replace starting cornerback Eric Wright, who signed a free-agent deal with Tampa Bay. But with the addition of three young corners through the draft, Smith (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) also could be the odd-man out if he doesnt show more consistency. Theres a time to gamble for one of those interceptions, and theres a time to be solid and play within the system. Its a contract year for me, Smith said. Im in a position where I have to battle for a starting spot or even a spot on the team. Ive gotten a little faster, a little smarter, a little muscle. I believe in my ability. I believe in what Ive shown the last two years when Ive played. Im not too worried about that. General Manager Martin Mayhew is observing and evaluating every move, as is the coaching staff. During off-season workouts, it was Aaron Berry filling the void at the starting right cornerback, not Smith. And it was free-agent acquisition Jacob Lacey who took over at the nickel when the Lions went with a fifth defensive back, not Smith. Mayhew has been trying to size up the competition before making any more decisions in the secondary. Theres some guys who are coming back who really have an opportunity to step up for us, Mayhew said. Alphonso Smith comes to mind those guys that are relatively young but still have some upside. Im watching that group closely. Well see if we need to make a move there or not. Injuries limited Smith to 11 games last season. His only start came in the regular-season finale, a complete defensive meltdown in which Green Bays reserve quarterback, Matt Flynn, passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns. Through the ups and downs, Smith defends his style and performance. The last time Ive been in a position where Ive been chasing a receiver is Thanksgiving two years ago, Smith said, referring to his dreadful performance against New England that most Lions fans will never forget. One of the ways I try to separate myself is making plays. As I look around, if you talk about playmakers in the secondary, Ill probably be the first on that list. Thats how I separate myself. Do my job. Dont give up any big ones and make plays when its there. If he lives up to his word, those trade rumors will be dismissed. If not, they could become reality.
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