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Fred Smoot is Back

(By Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post)

The great thing about having Fred Smoot in the locker room is that when all is quiet and players are filing out and you're staring at an metaphorically empty blog screen, you can go up to Smoot and ask, for example, whether he'd rather be on the receiving end of a hit delivered by Sean Taylor or LaRon Landry.

"That's just like asking yourself if you were to get shot, would you rather get shot with a .45 bullet or a nine millimeter," Smoot will instantly respond. "Then you ask yourself, 'Does it really matter?' Both of 'em are gonna hurt."

Indeed, it was another banner day for Smoot, who today dubbed himself "21.7."

"I wore 21 when I was here, now I'm 27, just gonna push it together and I'm 21.7," he explained. Examiner columnist Rick Snider, a veteran Smootologist, suggested that this sounded like an FM station. "I'm playing a little bit of everything," Smoot agreed. "I'm playing everything from rap, gospel, R&B, country music, everything. Very versatile."

A few minutes later, he was again discussing the difference between playing for the Vikings and playing for the Skins; "that's just like comparing the Yankees and the Montreal Expos, you just can't do it," he said. "It's two different places, two different type of people, two different fans." Which team was the Expos, I wondered.

"It ain't no question," he said. "Come on, man. It's just totally different. "

Smoot also detailed his water-heavy pre-game routine, in which he showers at the team hotel, then comes to the stadium and soaks in a hot tub, and then takes another shower.

"I'm kind of like a shower freak," he said. "I just believe the more water you can get in, the more loose your muscles will be....I don't get in there until I dehydrate--I'm drinking water three or four days beforehand--but I just get in where I can just get supple and loose."

But the real breakthrough came when he was asked whether he remains a top-tier NFL trash talker.

"Hmmmm," he considered. "I would like to think the broken jaw had no affect on me talking the trash."

The broken-jaw-limiting-his-junk-talking angle! Brilliant! I hadn't thought of that.

"Does it lock up or something?" Snider wondered.

"No, not really," Smoot said. "I think it's in great shape. Between training camp and the rehab I had to do, I think it's in great shape right now."

"What'd you do, like, chew on oranges or something?" Snider asked.

"Chew gum, chew gum," Smoot explained. "I went to [special teams coach] Danny Smith. You know, he keeps a big box of gum, and you know, chew gum, that's what I had to do. Effectively chew gum for about two months straight....I'd probably go 5,000 chews on the left, 5,000 on the right to get everything evened out."

"Did you feel like you had lowered the level of your trash talk with the injury?" asked Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez.

"No, I didn't, but I felt this side [gesturing to his left] was broke the most," Smoot said. "So I felt like I had rehabbed this [left] one kind of strong, and my right jaw had shrunk on me a little bit, so I had to get everything back to even."

WTEM's Holly Fantaskey now inquired as to how Smoot chooses his talking companions, and Smoot attempted to explain that it's an organic process, borne out of the natural progression of a football game.

"I don't know what people think, people just go out and see somebody and just start talking smack?" he told us. "It's like if you were going to a bar with your girls: y'all just trip out and have fun."

Right. Anyhow, rookie H.B. Blades just got moved to the locker immediately next to Smoot's; "I'm just fortunate enough to be by his locker, there's always gonna be something exciting going on," Blades said. And Pierson Prioleau, a couple lockers away, agreed that Smoot was the locker room's designated provider of all things comical. I wondered who was second.

"With jokes and being funny?" Prioleau said. "It's a distant second. I can't even imagine who would be second. You have a whole bunch of little seconds."

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 5, 2007; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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