It’s not everyday that you sign a new contract and start a new life within days of each other, but that’s precisely what new Miami Dolphins guard
The 26-year-old Colorado State graduate still had that glow of a newlywed today when he addressed the South Florida media for the first time since signing as a free agent on March 14th. He had flown back to Arizona immediately after putting his signature on the contract to marry his high school sweetheart, Lindsey.
“We didn’t really take a honeymoon yet,” said Smith, who started eight of the 25 games he played in with the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans from 2010-13. “We enjoyed our time in Arizona a little bit and then we came out here and tried to get situated and get back to work. I got to see all of my family and friends and married the love of my life so it was awesome.”
The quickness with which both life-changing events happened was not lost on Smith.
“It was great, but it was kind of a whirlwind,” he said. “I signed and then I flew straight out to the wedding and it all ended up working out great. Obviously, it was not exactly how I expected everything to go, it being so close back-to-back, but it worked out good.”
Even though Miami wasn’t the only team the 6-foot-4, 312-pound Arizona native visited in free agency, he felt a natural connection and also liked the idea of reuniting with a familiar face on the coaching staff. Offensive line coach John Benton was Smith’s position coach in Houston with the Texans his rookie year (he missed all of 2011 with an injury suffered during training camp).
Not only is Smith familiar with Benton, he’s also familiar with the zone-blocking scheme new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor intends to run this season. His quick feet were what excited Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and led to six starts in 11 games back in 2012, so he knows what will be expected of him with the Dolphins. General Manager Dennis Hickey clarified that during his introduction of Smith.
“As we watched film and saw the fit, especially for the scheme that we’ll be employing under coach Bill Lazor, we just liked the fit,” Hickey said. “We liked his athleticism, his ability to climb to the second level and do lot of things that we’re going to be asking him to. We’re very excited to add Shelley Smith to our team, a quality character person, a good player and an ascending player that we’re excited to add to our roster.”
Smith emphasized how much he likes run blocking and how he plays hard for 60 minutes while trying to be consistent in his blocking. He lined up on both the left and right side in St. Louis so he is just focused on working hard and competing for a starting spot on Miami’s offensive line. He understands why he fits well in Lazor’s scheme.
“I think in the zone-blocking scheme, particularly how it was in Houston, they kind of look for offensive linemen that are maybe a little bit more athletic,” he said. “(They look for linemen) that can move and open up the hole on a lot of outside zone, stretching out wide. So I think maybe that’s where I can fit in a little bit.”
Something that’s been resonating with all of Miami’s free agents so far is the makeup of the team and the direction it seems to be headed. Smith echoed the comments of Pro Bowl left tackle
“I see it as a good fit because there’s a lot of good, young players on the team and a lot of talent,” he said. “There’s just really a positive environment and it just really seems like things are headed in the right direction. So I’m really excited to be a part of it.”