Alumni Update: Mike Smith

Mike Smith has adopted a relatively simplistic approach to football. Whenever the Baltimore Ravens' rugged backup middle linebacker is in doubt, he hits someone. In the case of Friday's preseason opener against the New York Giants, Smith's instincts took over as he ran with the starting defense for the first time because middle linebacker Ray Lewis was given the night off.

In the second quarter, Smith penetrated the line of scrimmage and slammed Giants running back James Sims for a seven-yard loss.

Despite clearly being held, Smith decked Sims a moment after he got the handoff. The football popped out and hit the ground, but the runner had already been ruled down by contact.

"I read the offense well," Smith said. "It was one of those nights where I got into a groove. It was fun."

A year ago after making the team as a seventh-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, Smith only registered two tackles before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Against the Giants, he registered two tackles for losses.

On the same drive that he knocked Sims down seven yards, the 6-foot-1, 235-pound native of Lubbock, Texas tackled Sims for a one-yard loss. Plus, he chased Sims down in the open field following a 25-yard reception.

"My game is built around running to the football and playing hard," Smith said. "I don't make it too complicated. I'm very fortunate that I have such a good linebackers coach in Jeff FitzGerald and that I have Ray to learn from, too.

"Coach FitzGerald really teaches you the game and why offenses do what they do. That puts you in a better spot to make an impact."


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