- NFL linebacker Za’Darius Smith signed a four-year $US66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers this offseason.
- Smith told NFL Network’s 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.
- Smith had a career season with the Packers, but believes he was “snubbed” by not making the All-Pro or Pro Bowl rosters.
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It has been an excellent year for Green Bay Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith.
Smith was one of the big winners of the NFL offseason, signing a four-year $US66 million contract with the Packers, with $US20 million guaranteed. Smith has been worth his giant deal, which as he told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on the “RapSheet and Friends” podcast in March, came to him as an initial shock.
On the first day of free agency, Smith said his 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.
A career year and a snub
The Packers must be equally thankful for Smith’s contributions this season.
Smith had a career year, posting 13.5 sacks, sixth-most in the NFL, while spearheading a Packers defence that is now preparing to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith’s 93 quarterback pressures led the NFL this season.
Despite the career year, Smith didn’t make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro rosters. After a sack against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday in the divisional round, Smith sent a message, with a towel that read “Snubbed.”
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 13, 2020
A trip to the Super Bowl could help Smith cap an incredible year.
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