Commentary

Mr. Smith goes to the end zone, twice

Versatile Jet gets much-deserved, rarely received attention for Thanksgiving heroics

Updated: November 27, 2010, 8:14 AM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brad Smith is a pretty simple guy. Even after he supplied two touchdowns in the New York Jets' 26-10 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, the receiver/quarterback/returner just wanted one thing:

To go home and play with his dog.

But first, Smith had to face the crowd of reporters around his locker. It was by far the largest group he's entertained all year, and when he turned to face it, his eyes widened.

[+] EnlargeBrad Smith
Alan Maglaque/US PresswireThe Bengals scored twice. Both times, Brad Smith answered with a Jets touchdown.

"Oh, Lord," Smith said.

Smith isn't the Jet who gets the headlines. He does different things very well for the team, but he isn't usually the one breaking off huge runs. But he showed his versatility at the new Meadowlands Stadium, first with a 53-yard touchdown off an end around from quarterback Mark Sanchez.

"I'd have felt sick if I didn't score because of how well it was executed," Smith said.

Later, he took a kickoff return 89 yards for a touchdown -- and lost one shoe along the way. It came off as he was trying to evade a tackle; the defender dove, and Smith's shoe came loose. Smith tried to run with it but got more speed when he kicked it off and just ran.

"All that running in he backyard when I was little with no shoes on with my brother, I think that helped," Smith said.

Jets coach Rex Ryan likes to point out that Smith was a quarterback at Missouri, where he was the first Division I player to throw for 8,000 career yards and rush for 4,000. Against Cincinnati on Thursday, Smith had more than 200 combined yards to go with his two touchdowns.

"He is an amazing guy, an amazing talent," Ryan said.

Against the Bengals last season, Smith had 92 yards rushing and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said you can put Smith in any situation and he can make things happen. Asked whether you could put Smith on Chad Ochocinco -- and Ryan has considered using Smith as a defensive back in a pinch -- Cotchery laughed.

"I wouldn't be surprised; you can put him anywhere," Cotchery said. "He's definitely the true definition of a football player."

On Friday, Smith will start the long weekend that the Jets will have off. He will have a belated Thanksgiving celebration with his wife, Rosalynn, a doctor of biomechanical engineering, and their 4-month-old son Brad Jr., whom they call Alex.

"A lot to be thankful for," Smith said.

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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