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Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Super Bowl champion Will Smith, the former Thomas R. Proctor High School star from Utica who helped the New Orleans Saints make history with their 31-17 victory over the favored Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, returns today for his ...

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Old 04-02-2010, 10:46 PM   #1
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Super Bowl champion Will Smith, the former Thomas R. Proctor High School star from Utica who helped the New Orleans Saints make history with their 31-17 victory over the favored Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, returns today for his nonprofit's organization's second annual “Evening of All-Stars.”

Smith, a six-year NFL veteran at defensive end and one of the Saints' captains, and his “Where There's A Will, There's A Way” foundation will be honoring the Observer-Dispatch's All-Mohawk Valley Football Team during tonight's dinner at Daniele's Banquet Facility in New Hartford.

Doug Marrone, the head coach of Syracuse University's football team and a former Saints assistant, and former Proctor and University of Pittsburgh lineman Penny Semaia will be the guest speakers.

This will be Smith's first appearance here since the former first-round draft choice helped New Orleans capture its first Super Bowl title Feb. 7 in Miami. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente also has proclaimed today as “Will Smith Day” in Oneida County.

Question: How has your life changed since winning the Super Bowl?

Answer: It hasn't changed me as a person; I'm still the same guy. I definitely have a bigger fan base now, a bigger following. More people see you and recognize you. That's a good thing, people recognizing what you've accomplished.

Q: When did you first feel like your Super Bowl dream could become a dream come true?

A: A few years ago, when we lost to the Bears (in the NFC Championship Game). That's when I realized how hard it is to get to a Super Bowl. That's when I started to think 'I've got to get to that game - not only get to it, but win it.'

Q: What was the Super Bowl experience leading up to the game like?

A: It was amazing. Everybody was overwhelmed. The glitz, the glamour, it was everything. There were a lot of memorable moments the whole week.

Q: After starring at Proctor and helping an unbeaten Ohio State team win an NCAA National Championship, what does winning a Super Bowl mean to you?

A: What you'll always remember is, 'We pulled it off.' Now, having time to sit back and reflect on it, winning a National Championship and now I've won a Super Bowl. … You just get overwhelmed. You don't really think about it until you get there, and then you win the Super Bowl and it's like you've been hit with a sledge hammer. Guys like me and Devery (Henderson) and (Jon) Stinchcomb, guys who have been here a while, we've been through the ups and downs and now, we're on top of the hill. We've all had our struggles; it's just a good feeling knowing that it all paid off and we won it.

Q: What did your Super Bowl victory mean to New Orleans?

A: It means a lot. They used to say around here that if the Saints ever won the Super Bowl, hell would freeze over or it would be the end of the world. After Hurricane Katrina, a lot of fans thought they were going to lose the franchise to another city, but we stayed in New Orleans and we turned it around. We finally got it going and when we got to the big game and we won it, everybody was crying. The whole city was overwhelmed. To this day, anywhere you go you see Saints stuff. Everybody has a smile on their face. Even Saints fans who had passed away, there were people putting Saints stuff on their grave sites. That's how much this meant.

Q: What was the victory parade through New Orleans like?

A: It wasn't chaos, really, but there was a mass of people. Highways got backed up and shut down. For blocks, all you could see were people lined up cheering and crying and taking pictures.

Q: What was defensive coordinator Greg Williams' game plan against the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning?

A: We tried to confuse them. We tried not to show him the same thing twice. It was almost like playing a mind game, just trying to make him guess if we were blitzing or in coverage. I think there were a few things we did early that affected (Manning).

Q: What about head coach Sean Payton's decision to start the second half with an onside kick (that actually worked) when you're trailing 10-6? What was your reaction?

A: Everybody was kind of looking around like, 'Yeah, right.' But it was in the game plan all season and every time we did it in practice, it worked. It just showed everybody (Payton) was playing the game to win the game, not to keep it close and then try to win it in the end. He's an aggressive play caller who believes in the system and he believes in the players. He wasn't afraid to call it. He's not that kind of coach. I think it put (the Colts) back on their heels and showed them, 'Hey, these guys are here to win.'

Q: Days after the fact, the block you threw on Manning during cornerback Tracy Porter's game-clinching 74-yard interception return for a touchdown was a hot topic of conversation on talk shows and the Internet because some (many of them obviously Colts fans) thought you should have been penalized for clipping. What do you think?

A: I don't see what the big deal was. Obviously, it was a legal play. Peyton didn't say anything. He wasn't trying to make the tackle. He might've been able to slow Tracy down, but he knew there was going to be a price to be paid. … Tracy cuts back, Peyton realizes I'm there, and he turns his back as I'm giving him a gentle shove. I didn't even know it was a big deal. (Manning) didn't say anything. He knew he wasn't going to make the tackle. It looked a lot worse than it was.

Q: As a whole, what are your thoughts on your sixth NFL season?

A: It was a great ride. We did what we started out to do, and that was to win it all.

Q: You recently contributed $20,000 to help send a mobile health clinic to help the victims of Haiti's earthquake, and you are planning to make a trip there in the near future. Why?

A: I know a lot of Haitian people and I have heard so many good things about the people there and their culture. It's for a good cause, helping these people who are less fortunate than us.

Q: What do you remember about SU head coach and former Saints offensive line coach Doug Marrone, who will speak at the dinner tonight?

A: He always used to tease me. We'd have our battles against the offensive line, and he always wanted me to keep going another rep and another rep, until I'd (get tired) and lose.

Copyright 2010 The Observer-Dispatch. Some rights reserved

Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

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Old 04-04-2010, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him

Great performance all year long by will smith, really stepped it up. He didnt get alot of credit from analysts all year but he was always in the top 5 for sacks.
Lets get somebody to compliment him on the opposite side now!!!
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him

Has become a leader on the team. Maybe winning it again this year will change him a little, make him a little more hungry that is!
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:58 AM   #4
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Re: Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him

Originally Posted by dizzle88 View Post
Great performance all year long by will smith, really stepped it up. He didnt get alot of credit from analysts all year but he was always in the top 5 for sacks.
Lets get somebody to compliment him on the opposite side now!!!
Completely agree!!!
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Will Smith says Super Bowl championship hasn't changed him

It may not have changed him but it sure as heck changed me.....for the better I hope.
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