FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Marshall tight end Lee Smith, who was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (159th overall), held a conference call with reporters this afternoon. Some quick hits:
Unforgettable moment when call came. Smith, the father of a son (Brody) and daughter (Amanda), explained that he was in the backyard playing baseball when he got the call from the Patriots. "It's so humbling, so rewarding, I can't explain the emotions that went through my body," he said. Smith later said he was looking forward to learning from veteran Alge Crumpler, as well as second-year tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Fond memories of his father. Smith talked about his late father Daryle, who was an offensive lineman with the Cowboys, Browns and Eagles from 1987-1992. "Throughout my whole life, he prepared me for most of the mental aspect of the next level. He always told me it's pretty much even ground as far as the phyiscal attributes go once you get to that next level, but as long as you continue to work hard and be as mentally strong as you can be, then you have a good chance to get through it," he said. "Every step of the way that I have gone through in my athletic career to this point, he had already gone through. Having him there to kind of lean on and ask questions was something that I'll never take for granted and something I wish I had today. I'd do anything to call him and talk about being a Patriot."
'Bump in the road' changed his life. Smith began his college career at Tennessee, but transferred to Marshall after what he described as a "bump in the road." Part of that "bump in the road" might have been a result of him being arrested and charged with driving under the influence in 2006. He was also in the news for other reasons. Smith felt the move to Marshall ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him. "I met a lot of great people who helped me become a man," he said, adding that he was married and had his two children there. "I don't think I'd be a Patriot right now if it wouldn't have happened."
Long snapping needs development. Smith never snapped in a game at Marshall, but he's open to doing it in the NFL if it helps him stick around longer. "If there's someone in New England who can get me right with my long snapping, I definitely could use a tweak here or there on it, but it's something I'd be willing to learn how to do. If you have a tight end on your roster who can also be your long snapper, it adds a roster spot somewhere else," he said.