Jimmy Smith's Injured Foot Had 'Huge' Impact


Jimmy Smith wouldn't talk about his surgically repaired right foot during the season.

But after the Ravens wrapped up their season Sunday in Cincinnati, Smith finally opened about the injury and how much it hindered him early in the year.

"My foot was huge for me," Smith said. "I didn't really realize how slow I was, or how much I couldn't cut or burst until I really got into live action."

Smith suffered a season-ending Lisfranc foot sprain Oct 26, 2014. He had surgery to repair it and then went through an arduous rehab process.

The injury kept Smith from going through his normal offseason training routine. He instead spent the entire offseason in Baltimore, gradually working his way up to running full-speed drills before the start of training camp.

The Ravens kept Smith sidelined during the preseason games, and once he got into the regular season he realized he didn't feel quite like the same player.

"You don't train at all, so when you come back, you're not yourself," Smith said. "It was rough for me. I haven't really had to do deal with something that severe."

The impact of the injury showed up in the results. Smith gave up big plays to Amari Cooper and A.J. Green in the second and third games of the season, and Green's 227-yard game in Week 3 was particularly troublesome.

That start to the season was disappointing to Smith and the Ravens, who had signed the cornerback to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $48 million coming into the year.

"It was rough for about eight, nine games until I could really get my movement back," Smith said. "Each week I tried new things just to feel like my old self."

Smith never used the injury as an excuse, and he still managed to play every game of the year. He also seemed to get a little better every week.

By the end of the year, teams mostly shied away from the fifth-year corner.

In the first half of the season, quarterbacks threw at Smith 56 times for 461 yards. In the second half of the year, they threw Smith's way just 25 times and he allowed a total of 151 receiving yards. He was the NFL's sixth-best cornerback in coverage during the final eight games of the year, according to Pro Football Focus.

"Towards the end of the season, I feel like I was starting to get back better," he said.

Smith is now eager to return to a normal routine this offseason. He plans to take two months to rest and allow his body to recover, and then step into a training regimen in March. With that kind of offseason ahead of him, Smith fully expects to return to form as a shutdown corner in 2016.

"I just need to get some rest and get back to training like I usually train, and come back and dominate next season," he said. 

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