After spending three years with the Detroit Lions, it appears running back Kevin Smith will be on a new team in 2011. Smith was not tendered a contract offer by the Lions, meaning he is now essentially an unrestricted free agent. Since he has only been in the league three years, he would have been restricted if the Lions tendered him. Because they didn't, he is free to sign with another team whenever the free agency period begins (after a new CBA is agreed to).
Smith spoke to Dave Birkett after this news came out, and the running back thinks this was simply a business decision.
"I’ve been hurt the last two years so to me it was more of a business decision. In this business you can never be surprised. It’s strictly business and they did what they had to and I’ll do what I have to do. I know one thing for sure, I’ll be in the NFL next year. With the Lions, I can’t say, but that was their decision."
After putting up good numbers in his first two seasons, Smith rushed for only 133 yards in 2010. That was mainly because he only appeared in six games and was still recovering from a torn ACL. He was placed on IR midway through the season, and the Lions got by with Jahvid Best and Maurice Morris. That evidently is the plan going forward with Smith not being tendered.
In other news, it appears linebacker Zack Follett will not be retiring. There were concerns about his health and whether or not he could continue playing after suffering a neck injury last season, but he said this on his Facebook page today:
God presented me with a 2011 contract that I just signed! If he didn't want me to play that wouldn't have happened.. So now it's just matter of time to be healed! Team Jesus let's go!
That's definitely good to hear.