Robert Smith: After my last year at Jackson State University, I started my professional football career playing Arena Football for the Omaha Beef. In 2015, I got invited by the Washington Redskins Rookie Mini Camp. The year after that, I played in Germany in the GFL north division for the Hamburg Huskies where I played a full season. After the season was over, I had a private workout for the Baltimore Ravens in 2017. This year, I am grinding and praying for another opportunity to play professionally for either the NFL or the CFL.
Joe Gaiter: Remind us of why you felt like you were overlooked?
Robert Smith: I feel that I’m overlooked because lack of exposure. Not that many people know my story but my faith is still strong and soon everyone will know who I am and see my true abilities.
Joe Gaiter: How was it playing football in Germany? What were the similarities and differences between playing in the GFL vs American Football?
Robert Smith: It was one of the greatest experiences in my life. The simple fact that I was out there playing football professionally and experiencing life in Europe is a blessing within itself. They use NCAA college football rules so it wasn’t a substantial difference compared to NFL vs. CFL comparison. Most of the coaches in the league used to be coaches from the NFL Europe teams back in the day. The GFL is the top league in Europe right now.
Joe Gaiter: What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses on the field?
Robert Smith: My strengths on the field is that I have great hands and technique. My strength and quickness for my size is what separates me from others. I’m a different player than I was in college and I feel that I’ve improved a lot over the years.
Joe Gaiter: Do you think that you are NFL ready?
Robert Smith: Yes I am. Have no doubt in my mind that I can play at the highest level.
Joe Gaiter: What advice do you have for 2019 NFL Draft Class?
Robert Smith: Just stay humble and pray double. This journey is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. Keep working and your blessings will come.
Joe Gaiter: How has your agent helped you in your journey?
Robert Smith: Honestly, the person who is responsible for me getting invited by the Washington Redskins and got me a private workout with the Baltimore Ravens is my mother. My mom would wake up early morning calling NFL teams and sending emails to the general managers and player personnel staff every day. She is the real MVP behind all of this! I had an agent in the past but we both went our separate ways.
Joe Gaiter: How do you work through depression and frustration during this time?
Robert Smith: I work out and also work on my other business endeavors. The best way for me to get through the process as an un-drafted free agent is to always keep busy and prepared physically. If I’m not busy, I feel like I’m not doing enough throughout the day.
Joe Gaiter: Where and with whom are you training with?
Robert Smith: I work out at a local gym near my home. I train myself and with other athletes around the area. Waking up to run sprints and work on my technique with other athletes who share the same ambition as me is what keeps me going through everything. It’s a beautiful feeling when you grind with others who’s dedicated in their craft.
Joe Gaiter: Why should any team give you a chance?
Robert Smith: They should give me a chance because I am very talented and would be a hidden gem to their defense. Very seldom would they see a 330lb Defensive linemen move the way I can and can perform at the highest level too.
Joe Gaiter: Looking back do you have any regrets?
Robert Smith: Nah not really. Wherever God guides me is where you will find me. I’m just following the path he has paved for me.
Joe Gaiter: How do you feel about CFL Tryouts?
Robert Smith: CFL tryouts are very tricky because it all depends on what the team needs and positions that they’re looking for. Some teams already have their guys they have signed already so sometimes it’s pointless to go because they aren’t looking for anyone else after they got the players they need. I don’t take it personal. It’s all a business at the end of the day.
Joe Gaiter: Have you lost faith in the process?
Robert Smith: I haven’t honestly. I’m a firm believer that anything is possible. If a team ever calls me up to sign with them, I’d have my bags and workout gear ready within 30 minutes after the call. I’m always ready.
Joe Gaiter: Is it football or nothing for you?
Robert Smith: No it’s not. I’ve learned throughout my career that I have to keep busy no matter the circumstances. I actually am a founder of two businesses right now and while I’m chasing my football dreams still, I work on them when I have time during the day. I balance my daily schedule where I can get everything done in the same 24 hours.
Joe Gaiter: Final Words/Shoutouts?
Robert Smith: Thank you for this interview. I am grateful to share my experiences with others who are going through the same thing as me. Hopefully, my blessings can be someone’s motivation to keep going in their life!
Twitter and Instagram: @Kingsmitty_97
Robert Smith, Undrafted Free Agent, Interview with Joe Gaiter was last modified: May 23rd, 2018 by Joseph Gaiter