- NFL linebacker Za’Darius Smith signed a four-year $US66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers this offseason.
- Smith told Ian Rapoport on a podcast that he cried when he first heard the deal.
- Smith also said he went to his mum’s job and told her about the offer, asking her if she was ready to retire.
Za’Darius Smith was one of the big winners of the NFL offseason.
The 26-year-old linebacker signed one of the biggest deals of NFL free agency this season, a four-year $US66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers, with $US20 million guaranteed.
Smith was on the “RapSheet and Friends” podcast, hosted by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, and discussed the process of free-agency negotiations, including the immediate aftermath of signing a big deal.
On the first day of free agency, Smith’s agent informed him that he was closing in on a deal with the Packers but would get back to him with the final numbers. Smith said seven hours passed after that phone call, and he worried the deal had fallen through. Eventually, his agent got back to him around midnight and informed him of the agreement.
“He told me the price, man, and I broke down and started crying,” Smith said.
Smith said he was at his mum’s house for the phone call but told his mum he wouldn’t tell her the final price yet.
“I think the news came out after the day after the first day [of free agency],” Smith said. “I actually went to my mum’s job, and I kid you not, I asked her, I was saying, ‘Ma, are you ready to retire?'”
Smith said his mother’s bags were already packed.
Smith told Rapoport that his mother is a correctional officer. When he was younger, his mum took him to the jail to see people he knew behind bars, which he credits with changing his life and keeping him out of trouble.
He called it a “blessing” to be able to help his mum retire and let her “kick her feet up” at home.
- Read more:
- NFL free agency had a wild first 48 hours – here are all of the biggest moves
- In the first week of NFL free agency, there were some clear winners and losers
- The top 14 quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL draft class
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