He says his trash talking actually started on the basketball court years ago, the natural byproduct of participating in a New York summer street tournament that included NBA players.
It’s hard to doubt
"You know you had to be talking in a tournament like that," Smith said, "so I talked a lot of smack on the basketball court and I took it onto the football field."
His mouth has never really stopped since. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound
Whether Smith's verbal volleys make a significant Sunday difference is debatable.
He feels they do, that they tend to wear down the confidence of opponents and motivate his teammates. On the other hand, there have been times when his impulsive behavior has led to trouble and to pink slips.
But if nothing else, Smith brings a very loud presence to a Titans team that lacked vocal leaders the past couple of seasons.
“He is a lot of fun and you need guys like him,” Coach
Signed after the lockout to bolster the Titans' shoddy run defense, Smith has only been in Nashville a few weeks. But it hasn't taken the Brooklyn native long to get in his comfort zone.
He takes relentless comical jabs at offensive and special teams players, reserving some of his most pointed shots for wide receiver
“Bironas is a kicker and kickers don’t do much at practice,” Smith said. “Nate and I have history when he was at Pittsburgh and I was at Cincinnati. But I mess with everyone —
Some teammates appear to take Smith in stride.
Bironas dumped a handful of Payday candy bars in front of Smith's spot on the line during a recent practice, just before the team was scheduled to work on field goals.
"I figured if he was chewing on a candy bar, he wouldn't be mouthing off as much," Bironas said. "He's not harmful; he's really all smiles. He barks a lot, but he doesn't bite until there's a real opponent out there."
Washington tried another method for silencing Smith and found success with it.
“It seems like music is the thing that gets him going, so instead of playing what we usually do in the weight room, we played some
Smith's actions aren't always tolerated with such good humor.
When he played for the
Eight months later, the Browns cut Smith during training camp, one day after he and defensive line coach Bryan Cox got into a spat during practice.
And just a couple of weeks later the
"There's been some incidents, but that's life," Smith said. "You just try to keep going."
Smith spent 2010 with the
Smith figures to have plenty of verbal battles with a team he became very familiar with while playing in the
“I talked smack to them in the playoffs last year,” Smith said. “Me and (linebacker)
"We all say something at some point," Reed said, " … but it's all out of fun and all out of respect."
First and foremost, Smith hopes to be a physical presence against the Ravens, a first line of defense against running back
But if a little trash talk helps the cause of the Titans, who are underdogs in their home opener, then expect Smith to be the first to open his mouth.
"When I'm talking smack, I feel like it gets other guys going out there," Smith said. "They get riled up and they get going even more, and then you become like bullies out there."