The Chiefs have had two defensive linemen in recent memory that have worn the number 90 and had the name “Smith” on the back of their jersey. Neil Smith was selected second overall in the 1988 draft out of Nebraska and was a six-time Pro Bowler. Shaun Smith, on the other hand, was an undrafted free agent out of the University of South Carolina in 2003 who at the age of 29 is a journeyman who has spent time with six other NFL teams before joining the Chiefs in March of this year.
Neil Smith played several seasons alongside one of the best sack artists in NFL history in Derrick Thomas, and was a well-respected pass-rusher in his own right. Shaun Smith on the other hand, is a backup defensive lineman who has spent the past couple weeks spelling the injured Tyson Jackson at defensive end, and making a few enemies along the way.
Shaun Smith grew up in Brooklyn, New York and is known for his ridiculous trash talking. In fact, talking trash is his biggest weapon in gaining an advantage over his opponent, much like Neil Smith used a rip technique or a swim move. The less physically gifted Shaun Smith uses whatever tactics he can to get an edge on his opponent, and for him it’s all about getting in their head.
During the past two weeks, in wins against Cleveland and San Francisco, Shaun Smith has not just gotten into his opponents heads, he’s been accused of doing it in a very unorthodox way. First it was Cleveland’s Alex Mack, and then 49ers’ rookie Anthony Davis, both of them reporting that Smith intentionally grabbed their manhood during the heat of battle.
Davis was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after getting caught punching Smith in the side after the play where Smith apparently grabbed something other than Davis’ jersey.
Now, after the episode with Davis, the NFL has reportedly fined Smith $10,000 for his despicable acts.
Of course for the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans, basking in the glory of a 3-0 record and two-game lead in the AFC West, they could care less about the tactics employed by Smith in recent games. Rather, Chiefs fans are loving the fact that this journeyman defensive lineman has not just stepped in for Jackson, but is fourth on the team with 15 tackles, and he has played a huge role in helping the Chiefs’ defense achieve a ranking of sixth in the league against the run.
While Smith will undoubtedly pay his fine and move on, Chiefs fans have a piece of advice for future opponents who line up across from him…wear a cup.