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Bucs rookie ready for NFL life

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 17, 2001


Bucs third-round draft pick Dwight Smith is a cornerback who looks like he can pack a punch on and off the field. This is Smith on being a rookie, handling the demands, favorite movies, an embarrassing moment and his passion for cologne.

RM: Any surprises about your first taste of the NFL?

DS: Considering how long I have been around the game, I knew pretty much what it was going to take for me to come in and have an impact immediately. You have to take to this thing 100 mph. You have to do everything above and beyond what Coach asks. It's funny, but if you're doing what Coach is asking you to do, you're not doing enough.

RM: But you must have had some fears coming in.

DS: I feel like they used a third-round draft pick on me, they expect high things out of me and I just didn't want to let them down. It was not that I didn't think I could live up to being a third-round pick, but it was that I didn't want to come here and not live up to being a third-round pick.

RM: What's different now?

DS: I'm not just Dwight Smith anymore. I'm Dwight Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneer. They expect you to do things differently. You have a lot of pressure on your back to live up to the way people look at you. Especially the way coach (Tony) Dungy runs his team. You don't want to get caught out there doing things that are not respectable.

RM: Do you think pro athletes get a bad rap when it comes to that?

DS: Well, it's not just pro athletes (who get in trouble), it's everybody. I just think that we get called to the forefront more. There are a lot of people out there trying to make a point about pro athletes. You just have to be very careful who you're around.

RM: Isn't that easier said than done?

DS: Well, everything in life is easier said than done. You look at the Ray Lewis situation. Maybe he didn't have anything to do with it, but he was surrounded by the wrong kind of people. He put himself in the wrong situation. So I want to put myself around the kind of people who aretrying to do the same things that I want to do.

RM: You ready to earn some cash?

DS: We get loans nowadays so when that first paycheck comes it's not going to be like something we haven't seen before. It's not like I'm going to go wild and crazy. I'm out there working for the money so it has to work for me.

RM: You know some of your peeps will come out of the woodwork looking for a lift. DS: I laugh at that. A person can't make you do something you don't want to do. I'll tell a person no in a minute. Growing up where I did, no was something I heard all the time.

RM: Do you break down your dreams?

DS: Everything happens for a reason and sometimes it's something to think about. I have all kinds of dreams about my son, he'll be two in November and I want to put him in a better situation than the one I grew up in. I want my son to be whatever he wants to be, as long as he's happy. That's what I dream about.

RM: Is mankind regressing as a species?

DS: I can't say so. I think we're progressing every day. I think we're going in the right direction every day. Just check it out, we've come so far in the past five years and who knows where we'll be in the next five years.

RM: Favorite five movies?

DS: Scarface, The Godfather, Face/Off, Enemy of the State and The Untouchables.

RM: Apart from the fact that there are no "chick flicks" in that group, I sense a pattern here.

DS: True. That's all I grew up watching. I grew up around that stuff. That's the type of thing I identified with. Plus, movies like Face/Off and Enemy of the State make you think. I think those kind of movies are good because they leave you wondering about the world around you.

RM: What will the name of your Web site be?

DS: Dwightsmithinyourface.com.

RM: Your most embarrassing moment?

DS: It was the high school city (Detroit Central) basketball championship and I laid the ball up in the wrong goal. City championships now, a packed arena too. Two points for the other team. I grabbed the board and put it back in and slapped the backboard and everything. Man. . .

RM: What happened in the game?

DS: We lost by two. That really made it worse. The atmosphere was pretty bad at the time so nothing was said (to me) then. But we still had to practice for the state tournament and I can tell you I heard about it. My brother still talks about it today.

RM: Tell me about the cologne thing. DS: I'm a smell-type person. Women attract me by their smell, so I try to do the same. I like John Paul, Burberry and Curve for men. I got a lot of stuff that I use. About 14 bottles on my dresser.

RM: Is there a playbook?

DS: Well, I wear cologne every day. I wouldn't wear it to come into practice in the morning, but I do wear it every day. Like if I put on a jogging suit after a shower and feel fresh, then I'll put on something with a fresh scent. Now, if I'm going to church on a Sunday I want something a little dignified. If I'm out at the club, I want something with a little more (punch).

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