Take a month off from physical activity.
Then promptly go outside and throw three hours of batting practice with your non-dominant arm. How would you feel?
Uncomfortable. Ineffective. And, yeah, sore.
Welcome to Tyron Smith’s Pro Bowl experience.
“I think I played the whole game,” Smith told me over the weekend. “I was gassed. And I played on the right side. My mind and my body weren’t used to that. I mean, it was a great experience and I’m honored to have been chosen, but …”
More than a month after the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Smith is still feeling the effects of the game. He’s battling tendonitis in his right knee, a result of repeated snaps at a position – and from a stance – he hasn’t played since he was a rookie in 2011.
But playing out of position is what happens when you’re a 22-year-old newbie making your first Pro Bowl trip. The other tackles on Team Rice were the elders, so Smith appropriately deferred and switched spots. Joe Thomas of the Browns was playing in his 7th Pro Bowl, and the Panthers’ Jordan Gross made his third Pro Bowl appearance and, afterward, retired from the NFL.
Smith gave up a sack to the Texans’ J.J. Watt, committed a false-start penalty and generally behaved like an American in England mandated to suddenly drive on the left side of the road.
While Smith’s knee is now getting much-needed rest-‘n-relaxation, his mood should get a lift this off-season as well – in the form of a lucrative contract extension.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.