Former Tiger Looking for a Chance

Former Auburn running back Eric Smith worked out for NFL scouts at Auburn's Pro Day on Tuesday.

Auburn, Ala.-- While there were moments in Auburn's 2011 season that surely made its fans cringe, every snap was difficult to watch for Eric Smith.

Instead of throwing a block to spring Onterio McCalebb for a long run or catching a screen in the flat, Smith tuned in from home to watch his former teammates play and root for an Auburn win.

"It was very tough," said Smith, whose dismissal from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules was announced by Auburn in February 2011. "Every game. Every single down. I'm sitting at home calling out plays while they're running—offense, defense, special teams, everything."

Smith said that dealing with the ramifications of his off-field troubles was a learning experience.

"I've matured from those days," he said. "I'm a long way from that now. Just looking forward to better days."

Believing he could be a good fullback on the next level, Smith took part in Auburn's NFL Pro Day Tuesday with the hope he could catch the attention of scouts in attendance from 11 NFL teams, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants, among others.

"I just need a chance," he said. "That's all I need—just one team, one person just give me a shot. That's all I need."

Eric Smith

The 5-9 1/2, 246-pound Smith ran 40 times of 4.96 and 4.99, had a 26-inch vertical jump and benched 225 pounds 13 times on Tuesday.

"Everything wasn't as great as I wanted it to be," he said. "But I came out here and gave it my best, gave it the best shot I could and hopefully, it's a good result that comes out of it."

Despite being dismissed from the team, Smith said he doesn't harbor any ill feelings toward Auburn or his former football coaches and that he appreciated the opportunity to work out at Pro Day.

"I thank Coach (Gene) Chizik, all the coaching staff, Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall)," Smith said. "I appreciate everybody still standing behind me 100 percent, still pushing for me, nothing but good things to share about me. I have nothing but good things to say about them also.

"My whole college career has been a learning experience," he added. "We all make mistakes. I made mine. Unfortunately, mine were a little bit more in the public than everybody else's. I appreciate everything that Auburn University has done for me."

Smith said he hasn't heard from any NFL team yet, but he hopes that changes soon. In the meantime, he'll continue taking classes at Auburn, where he expects to graduate with a degree in sociology in May.


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