Former Washington soccer participant Smoot born for broadcasting | Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — To hear Fred Smoot inform it, everybody who hung out with him figured the “Mouth of the South” was going to make good use of his voice lengthy earlier than his nine-year NFL profession started.

“If you knew Fred Smoot, it’s been since I was born,” mentioned Smoot when requested when he knew he needed to enter broadcasting on Saturday morning earlier than the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast. “I love to talk. Before I could play football, I could talk and interact.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a real job. I’ve been blessed. I got to play a child’s game as a grownup and get paid for it, and now I get to talk about that game and get paid for it. It’s a blessing. I enjoy every day of it, and that’s why I’ve always got a smile on my face. It comes natural to me. It’s easy. I get up every day wanting to go to work and wanting to do the things that I do.”

A cornerback, Smoot performed 9 years within the NFL with the franchise now often known as the Washington Commanders (2001-04 and 2007-09) and Minnesota Vikings (2005-06). Smoot performed in 129 video games and had 21 interceptions, 450 tackles and 5 pressured fumbles. A Mississippi State University All-American who hails from Jackson, Miss., Smoot was drafted by Washington within the first spherical with the 14th decide of the 2001 NFL draft.

The 43-year-old Smoot’s colourful and vibrant persona has carved out a powerful profession for himself in broadcasting for the reason that finish of his taking part in profession. Currently, Smoot co-hosts a podcast with Chick Hernandez known as “That’s Your Opinion” on the Bleav Podcast Network and does radio and TV work for CSN, 106.7 The Fan and NBC.

That’s a variety of alternatives for Smoot to precise his opinions, one thing he’s by no means had an issue doing.

“My mom was very outspoken, my grandma was very outspoken,” Smoot mentioned. “They used to always tell me, ‘You can say the cruelest thing to people, as long as you say it the right way.’ It’s about how you deliver it, get what’s on your mind off, because you don’t want regrets.

“Watch what you say, watch how you say it, but let people know who you are. Communication is one of the most powerful things in this world. I think if we do that more as a people, we can be more clear with each other and get on the same page.”

Smoot’s profession includes offering perception on his former workforce in Washington. In a quarterback-driven league, Smoot feels the Commanders have one who ought to serve them nicely in Carson Wentz, the seventh-year quarterback who the Commanders acquired in a commerce with the Indianapolis Colts in March.

“Let’s be honest, right now, we have, what, the second-best quarterback in the NFC East [behind Dallas’ Dak Prescott]? You can say that,” Smoot mentioned. “Right now, he’s the best quarterback we’ve had around here since what, Kirk Cousins [in 2017]?

“Stable is stable. That’s what we need. That’s one thing about my career. We never really had that one quarterback. We had Jason Campbell (from 2006-09), but we didn’t give him no stability at offensive coordinator (Don Breaux in 2006-07, Sherman Smith in 2008-09). Quarterback is the most important position. It stabilizes everything.”

Smoot feels Wentz will give Washington an opportunity to win partly as a result of he’s obtained one thing to show. The Colts turned the web page on him after Wentz spent the primary 5 years of his profession with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he’s going to wish to present he can he could be somebody a franchise can depend on.

Wentz threw 27 landing passes towards simply seven interceptions and had his third-best passing yardage whole of his profession (3,563 yards) in 2021, however a lot of the give attention to him was the regular-season finale. With an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth, Wentz accomplished 17 of 29 passes for one landing and one interception and misplaced a fumble in a 26-11 loss to lowly Jacksonville, which got here into the sport with a 2-14 report.

“He knows he ain’t got that many more chances in this league to be a starter himself,” Smoot mentioned. “So at least you get a talented guy with a mindset of, ‘I’ve got a lot of work to put in,’ ya know?”

Fellow broadcaster and Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw mentioned he hopes Wentz does nicely.

“He has just been chastised, hasn’t he? Ever since he got hurt [in 2017] …” Bradshaw mentioned in an interview after the Sports Breakfast. “If they protect him, he’ll be fine. He needs protection. If you look at stats, he had a good year in Indy. I’m pulling for him. He’s a good man. I like good people. He’s good people. And he’s talented.”

Smoot thinks Washington added a fairly good goal for Wentz within the first spherical of Thursday’s NFL Draft in Jahan Dotson, a 5-foot-11, 184-pound broad receiver from Penn State who had 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns final 12 months. Dotson was chosen sixteenth, the fifth of six receivers taken between picks No. 8 and No. 18.

“I think Jahan Dotson is one of those guys when we look back 10 years from now, we’ll be like, ‘All right, we got one of those guys amongst what we thought was a true elite group of wide receivers,’” Smoot mentioned. “He might turn out to be one of the better ones.”

One of Wentz’s predecessors as a Washington beginning quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, died at age of 24 after being struck by a dump truck final month. Haskins was coaching in Florida with different members of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I knew Dwayne very well from doing a lot of charity work with the team,” Smoot mentioned. “Terrible, terrible story. Will be missed. Full of energy. You know I like to smile, and he had a smile that rivaled mine. Just a good soul gone too early.”

After his 4 and a half minute interview, Smoot took the stage on the Sports Breakfast and flashed his smile typically.

Smoot was joyful to be in Winchester on Saturday and work together with Washington Commander followers earlier than the Sports Breakfast began — he additionally served as one of many Grand Marshals for the Middletown July 4th Celebration Parade in 2020 — although he would have favored to have seen rather less of a sure shade scheme.

“It’s been Pittsburgh Steeler-ish around here. It’s a stench of steel around here,” Smoot mentioned with amusing throughout his interview. “But it’s community. That’s what a team is about.

“I tell people all the time — sports is the biggest running reality show of all time. They got to watch [athletes] grow, they get to watch us grow in college, come to the league, they get to watch our life progress. So we are connected in that way. So when we get to interact with them, they’re with somebody they feel like they already knew from watching. So I love when people invite me to their community, and I can get to learn a lot about it.”

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