Running back Kevin Smith's time in Detroit appears to be over. As first reported by Tim Twentyman, Smith was not tendered a contract offer, which means he will become an unrestricted free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement is in place and the free agency period opens.
Dave Birkett spoke to Smith just minutes ago. Similar to what we previously heard from Chris Houston, Smith focused on how, at the end of the day, this is a business.
"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."
Smith joined the Lions in 2008 as a third-round draft pick. He rushed for 976 yards during his rookie year and followed that up with 747 yards in 2009. This past season he dealt with multiple injuries and only rushed for 133 yards in six games.
With Jahvid Best expected to do big things in the future if he can stay healthy and Maurice Morris coming on strong at the end of last season, the Lions obviously feel Smith is expendable. It remains to be seen if any other backs will be added this offseason, but suddenly it doesn't sound too outlandish for someone like Mark Ingram to be picked in the first round if he's available. Behind the scenes all along the Lions probably never felt it was outlandish, but to everyone else it seems much more plausible now.