Shaun Smith has been waiting for this moment. It was announced on Monday that the Kansas City Chiefs had re-signed the defensive lineman, and it wasn't long until the former fan favorite was back to his old ways of providing the media with a juicy quote or two and injecting some life into the locker room.
Last season, Smith signed with the Tennessee Titans after the Chiefs had moved on. Still he never made a secret of his love for Kansas City and the fans via his Twitter account. Now that he's back, he sounds ready to hit the field and impact the team.
"I definitely have," said Smith when asked whether he'd paid attention to the Chiefs this season. "I wanted to come back here. I was talking to Romeo. I talked to Romeo about once a week or once every other week. I encouraged him. He'll tell you, I'm ready to play when it's the right time, and it's the right time."
Because of his history with Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs franchise, Smith doesn't seem worried about his ability to step right into the mix.
"There isn't much easing to have to do," said Smith. "It's an assignment. I'll do my job, help out. I can be a leader. I think I'm the oldest guy on the team now, so I'm like the grandfather right now. I'll try to provide some leadership to some of these young guys and try to turn around these last eight games."
As for the Chiefs current record, Smith says the issue isn't just a defensive problem that he can help with.
"It's not just the defense," he said. "You can't pinpoint just the defense. The team as a whole has to continue to play four quarters and not three quarters or a half. You look at the game from Thursday night. I watched it. It was a close game until, what, 12:13 left in the fourth quarter.
"In this game, you can't turn the ball over," Smith continued. "You turn the ball over and you can't win. I don't care who your quarterback is, who your running back is, who your offensive linemen are. It doesn't matter, so at the end of the day, you have to compete and finish strong. Everybody is fighting for another day. Nothing is guaranteed around here."