After spending all six of his NFL seasons in Philadelphia, tight end L.J. Smith will make the transition to Baltimore after signing what has been reported to be a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Ravens.
Smith, a former second-round draft pick of the Eagles, told The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio on Thursday that he believes he made the right decision. Now that he has moved on, Smith looked back, saying he wasn’t happy with how things ended with the Eagles and that he was never able express his displeasure about a situation in which he felt he was “treated like a number” in Philly.
“There were a lot of things that I felt like should have been handled differently,” said Smith, who missed nine games in the last two seasons while dealing with injuries. “You know, there were a couple of times where Coach (Andy Reid) should have came up to me and told me what what going on and how he was looking at things and how he was handling situations and what direction he wanted to go, but it didn’t happen like that.
“As a player, you never want to hear things through the media. Everyone’s wrong, and everyone obviously had to do the right thing to get to this point in the NFL, and you just want to be treated like that. You want to be treated like a man before an athlete. I think a lot of times in the NFL, coaches forget that. There so involved with the numbers and schemes, and they forget how to approach a player, and I just felt like a couple of times throughout the season last year, there were a couple of coaches who forgot that.”
Smith said he hasn’t talked to Reid, and he doesn’t plan to do so. Smith said he’s also ready to let it go.
“I don’t want to come across bitter or anything like that because as long as I’m in the NFL, that’s a blessing in itself,” Smith said. “I’m definitely grateful for my experience there — good or bad. However, it’s one of those things where the coach knows. He knows how he should have handled the situation, and I don’t have to tell him. But if I see him, there’s no hard feelings.”
As for his new role in Baltimore, Smith will be paired with veteran TE Todd Heap under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. While he was initially concerned about joining an offense with an established tight end, Smith said he was convinced by Cameron and the amount of interest the Ravens showed.
“Coach Cameron, I met with him, and he just felt like, ‘We’re going to use you, and I feel like I know how to use you.’” Smith said. “And I was like, ‘You know what? That was all I want to hear, really.’ You want to hear a coach say that we want you here and we know what to do with you.”