The Washington Post

Redskins’ Willie Smith doesn’t mind quitting day job for football

With plenty of time on his hands during the NFL labor dispute, rookie offensive lineman Willie Smith sold knives to support himself financially.

Smith sold more than $20,000 worth of CUTCO Cutlery, becoming the company’s top seller in June and July.

“I was aggressive too,” Smith said. “I just got charisma, man.”

Now that he’s put down the knives to enter his first training camp, Smith’s focus is working on his hands at left tackle while entering only his third year at the position. Before his junior season at East Carolina, Smith played tight end and permanently switched to tackle halfway during the season. Before that switch, Smith played defensive tackle. He has improved his fundamentals every season, depending on the same mentality he used on the opposite side of the trenches.

The transition is “smooth, because the D-line you have to come up and hit somebody, O-line you have to come up and hit somebody – it’s just a different way of going about it, but I like it,” Smith said. “I’m definitely continuing to work on my footwork, putting your hands in the right spot and just getting off on the ball. It’s fast out here.”

At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Smith has the size and potential to fill the Redskins’ needs at tackle at some point in the future if he can make the roster this season and continue working on the fundamentals of his game. While CUTCO may miss him for a while, Smith is pleased to be back to work at his top choice for a career path.

“I’m just glad the lockout is over,” Smith said. “Finally got to get some football work in.”


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