Fred Smoot, Still Taking It to the House
I believe we were looking at the decorative candles in his sitting room when Fred Smoot first explained to me that the public might be suffering from some misapprehensions concerning his personality.
"You've got to really learn Fred Smoot," he counseled me. "I'm not always the loudmouth, edgy-type guy. I love art, man, and I love decorating stuff."
Fred Smoot, lover of decorative candles, Yorkshire terriers named Ritzy, dinner parties, glass coffee tables supported by bronze elephants, and subtle, color-coordinated art?
"Like, the little girl from Mississippi right here, my portrait right here," he said, gesturing to a painting on his wall. "Do I really know she's from Mississippi? No. But I bought it because she looks like she's from Mississippi. Just look at her."
"Art," he later mused, "is in the eye of the beholder."
As are hardwood floors, apparently. Smoot's are striped.
"You know," he began, "every big house I ever walked in, they had nice wood floors, but they were just all one color wood. So I switched it up."
I recently took this tour of Smoot's home with the assistance of Ike Nwaneri, the entrepreneur behind the Smack Energy Bar, several of which were found in Smoot's kitchen. I ate a Smack Energy Bar out of general friendliness -- "now the next one you'll have to pay for," he said -- and watched Smoot talk about the bars to the accompanying Comcast SportsNet cameras. He said he cooks the bars in his oven (which isn't true), and that he's obsessed with their flavor because he "didn't want to make another bar that did you well but stinks" (which is true).
But the tour also revealed certain other surprises. For example, we learned Smoot plans to open two Sonic drive-ins and four Waffle Houses in the D.C. market, since "everybody's one accident away" from needing a new career.
We learned he keeps Joe Gibbs's "Racing to Win" on his office bookshelf, because "Coach Gibbs is one of my favorite people ever in the world." We learned the only football photos of himself are in that office and feature Sean Taylor, to help Smoot remember.
We learned his office also features a Minnesota Vikings helmet -- the only memento he'll display from his disappointing time in the heartland -- and a wooden model boat, and no, not for the reason you're thinking.
"You know what? I used to always look at 'The Cosby Show' and see these little boats on everybody's bookshelf," he said. "So I always said I'm gonna get me a boat on a bookshelf, so I went and got me a little ship. What it means, I don't know."