Archive for February 7, 2010

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY BABY!

Posted in BobbyBounce on February 7, 2010 by bobbybounce

I gotta go with my man on the saints! Shout out to Will Smith let”s get it!! Who dat Who dat Who dat!! PS: All of utica got ya back kid! Good luck….Former Proctor star steps into spotlight in NFL’s biggest game today!!

When he was a Utica teenager growing up in Cornhill, Will Smith was bigger and faster than most.

But that wasn’t all that set him apart.

“A lot of people are talented, it’s what you decide to do with it,” said Paul Filletti, Thomas R. Proctor High School assistant football coach. “Will took that talent and ran with it.

“That’s what has gotten him where he is now,” he added.

It’s what has taken the former Proctor star from South Street in Utica to the National Football League, and now, all the way to Super Bowl XLIV.

On Sunday night, New Orleans Saints starting defensive end and team captain Smith will become the first player from the Mohawk Valley to play in the Super Bowl when his Saints meet the Indianapolis Colts in Miami.

A win by the underdog Saints and the 28-year-old Smith would make him and Utica Senior Academy graduate Ernest Jones, a member of the Super Bowl XXXII champion Denver Broncos who was injured and did not play in their 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers, the only area players with Super Bowl rings.

“Just to be in the game, just to have this opportunity is huge,” Smith said. “It’s kind of what defines your career. You look at the guys who were great players who never got the chance to play in a Super Bowl.

“I know not everybody gets this opportunity. When it does happen, you want to make the most of it.”

That’s just what his late grandmother would want to hear.

His mother, Lisa, died of breast cancer when he was 4. His grandmother Nancy Smith later moved Will and sister Chantay from Queens to Utica in 1991.

It was a strong-willed and spirited Nancy Smith who raised them, and made sure they weren’t hanging out in the streets. “That was a no-no,” she said back in 2004, a few days before the Saints made her grandson – an AP All-America at Ohio State University — their first-round pick, No. 18 overall, in the NFL Draft.

She didn’t know much about football. She knew what was best for Will, though, and she thought being a member of Proctor’s football, basketball ,and track and field teams, and playing the trumpet would help keep him off the streets and out of trouble, so she was all for it.

“I think about her every day,” he said after helping the Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC title game. “It would’ve been great to have her down here, but I know from afar she’s looking over me and I know she’s proud of what I’ve accomplished.

“She never made sports a big deal. She wanted me to be a good person. She wanted me to get an education and get good grades and get a good job, so I could support my family. She came from nothing, never graduated from high school, but she got a job and took care of our family. … She touched so many people’s lives. She helped me get where I am today.”

Smith’s road to Super Bowl XLIV started as an eighth-grader at John F. Kennedy Junior High School. He later was a three-year starter at Proctor, helping the Raiders earn their first Section III playoff berth while making a name for himself nationally as a Class AA first-team all-state selection.

At Ohio State, where he played in games drawing more than 100,000 fans, he was a three-year starter who won a national championship as a junior.

Filletti, who will be at Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, also was at the Fiesta Bowl that January, when Smith helped the Buckeyes cap a 14-0 season by upsetting defending champion Miami 31-24 in double-overtime.

“This is just the next step, something else for Will to accomplish,” Filletti said. “I felt the same way when I went to the national championship game to see him. You think, ‘How does it get any better than this?’ And now, it has.”

As a New Orleans Saint, Smith was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006, but this season – his sixth in the NFL — has been his best. The 6-foot-3, 282-pounder was fifth in the league with a career-high 13 sacks during the regular season, and he intercepted a pass in the divisional playoff win over the |Arizona Cardinals and forced a fumble that led to a New Orleans touchdown in the NFC title game against Minnesota.

That victory over the Vikings earned the Saints (15-3), who nearly left New Orleans for good after the city was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, their first Super Bowl trip in the 43-year history of the franchise. It also gave a kid from Cornhill the chance to play a starring role on sport’s grandest stage.

“Everything I have strived for, I have accomplished,” Smith said. “I went to Ohio State and we won a national championship and went back to school and graduated. I went to the NFL and got to play in the Pro Bowl. And now, it’s the Super Bowl.

“These are moments you can’t buy, you can only go out and do it. Only a very small few get a chance to experience this.”
Peace….DJ 808 (aka) BobbyBounce

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