Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jets giving former safety Eric Smith internship


Former New York Jets safety Eric Smith was always lauded by his coaches as being a heady player, so now that his playing career appears to be over, it's time to put that head to use.

The team announced Monday that it will bring in Smith as a seasonal intern, a position held the last two years by Tony Sparano Jr., who was promoted to offensive assistant.

Smith played seven seasons with the Jets after being drafted out of Michigan State in the third round in 2006.

He never materialized as a bonafide every-down cog at safety but did start 36 of the 96 games he played in, tallying six interceptions and 3.5 sacks along the way. Smith was known as a bruiser in the center field and also thrived on special teams under then-coach Mike Westhoff.

Sparano Jr., meanwhile, joined the Jets' staff in 2012 -- his father's lone year as the team's offensive coordinator. Sparano Sr. was fired during the team's offseason purge at the beginning of 2013, but Gang Green kept his son.

"I’m glad Rex could see Tony’s value was completely different than mine," Sparano Sr. told Brian Costello of the NY Post last fall. "Tony’s his own man and he’s his own coach. . . . He’s just good at what he does. I think they saw his value.”

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