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Old 04-29-2009, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Former Denver star told Heimerdinger of receiver's talent

When three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Rod Smith was asked if he'd work with a promising young wideout leading up to the NFL Draft, he initially was reluctant.

Not too far removed from a 14-year NFL career, Smith wanted to relax. But an agent talked him into working with a player he hardly knew — Kenny Britt from Rutgers.

Smith didn't know then that the pairing would allow him to pay back a debt of gratitude to another friend, Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, one of his former coaches with the Broncos.

The Titans selected Britt in the first round of the draft Saturday. He came highly recommended by Smith, who relayed information about Britt to Heimerdinger as the Titans prepared for the draft.

"I'd do anything for Mike,'' said Smith, who spent seven seasons under Heimerdinger in Denver. "Trust me, I know for a fact if Mike Heimerdinger didn't come into my career when he did there would be no two Super Bowl rings for me and everything else I had in my career. I tell him that all the time.

"So Kenny couldn't be going to a better spot. I learned everything from Mike, and now Kenny's going to get it first-hand himself. They're going to be great for one another.''

At least Britt, Smith, Heimerdinger and the Titans hope so.

"It's funny, Coach Dinger called me on draft day and said, 'You better be right,' '' Smith said. "I said, 'Man, I'm right.' Then I called Kenny and said, 'We better be right.'

"I think Coach (Jeff) Fisher and the Titans are going to be happy with that pick.''

An undrafted free agent, Smith played for the Broncos from 1994-2007, compiling 11,389 yards and 70 touchdowns. Heimerdinger coached receivers for the Broncos from 1995-99, and later returned to Denver as an assistant head coach.

Smith, who still resides in the Denver area, traveled to Arizona three times a week to work with Britt, who won't turn 21 until September. They spent a lot of time on route running, focusing on Britt's technique and examining every aspect from his footwork to his shoulders to his hip movement.

More than anything, Smith was encouraged because Britt was open to every piece of advice, every suggestion and was willing to improve.

Last offseason, Smith worked with receiver Eddie Royal leading up to the draft. Royal, a second-round pick by the Broncos, had 91 catches for 980 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Britt is hoping for similar quick success with the Titans after racking up 3,043 yards in just 34 games at Rutgers. He had 14 100-yard games.

"He's big and strong and fast, and from the time I spent with him you can tell the guy loves to play ball. And sometimes that's the kind of thing coaches can't measure. They can measure the strength and bench press, but you can't measure the person's heart and I saw that when Kenny,'' Smith said.

"And I like his attitude. He is really competitive and you have to have a swagger to play in the NFL. You can tell he is the type of guy who is going to work at it to be as good as he can be.''

After the Titans selected him, Britt gave a lot of credit to Smith.

"I thank the Lord for (what Smith did) and I thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to help me out,'' Britt said.

In his conversations with Smith, Heimerdinger said he got some insight as to what to expect from Britt, things that didn't show up while watching film.

"Rod told me about his work ethic and the way Kenny had worked for him and the things he tried to help Kenny with,'' Heimerdinger said.

"He said Kenny did all the right things and that he was trying to help him. I really wanted to find out from Rod what his work ethic was like, plus his brain.

"Rod said he handled everything good. Everything he gave him and every challenge he gave him, he worked hard at it.''

Smith, who plans to come to Nashville to continue his sessions with Britt, hesitated to compare the Rutgers product to any current NFL receiver. He didn't flinch when asked if he thought Britt would be a successful pro, however. Britt has the tools to be a star, Smith said.

Aside from Royal and Britt, Smith had also worked with Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall, who made it to his first Pro Bowl last year.

"I just want Kenny to focus on this year and I want him to have high expectations all the time because you tend to get what you expect,'' Smith said. "If he expects 1,000 yards and 75 catches and 10 touchdowns and he goes out there and works at it …

"I definitely know he's going to work at it.''
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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Britt is a good kid.....always nice to see RU guys get a shot

more than usual this year...i think they had 4 or 5 guys get their names called on the 25th
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:27 PM   #3
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why have we not locked in smith as full time receivers coach?
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
why have we not locked in smith as full time receivers coach?
I believe it was offered, but he has no interest in full-time coaching right now
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
why have we not locked in smith as full time receivers coach?
shanny regime
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fido View Post
shanny regime
So? It was more likely to happen under Head Coach he knew and respected then under a guy he has no connection with.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
why have we not locked in smith as full time receivers coach?
He has his own businesses to run...
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #8
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Turner and Dennison are from the "Shanny regime" and they're still around. Hmm, 2 coaches who units seem to do the best over the years and McDaniels kept them. The other coaches whose units have not been so great are gone, especially defense and special teams. Yet McDaniels is stupid and just wants "his guys?" Great logic.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #9
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Sigh...I miss Rod Smith.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:33 PM   #10
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Gotta love Rod giving back when ever he can.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
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I played golf with Matt Cook a couple of times last summer, he was a former high school QB in my home town. Matt was the QB at MO Southern where he and Rod Smith set several records together. Matt and Rod are still real close friends and I got to hear several personal and amazing stories about Rod. It was a priceless experience for me to hear what a class act Rod Smith was in college.

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Old 04-29-2009, 04:11 PM   #12
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wow, i did not know that Rod worked with Royal last offseason. no wonder Royal is drawing the Rod SMith comparisons and played lights out last season
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:36 PM   #13
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Love to hear stories about Rod Smith, one of the classiest players to every play the game.
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