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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Brad Smith discusses his Jets departure

By Rich Cimini

Caught up with former Jets all-purpose star Brad Smith, who will face his old team Sunday when the Jets visit Buffalo. A few thoughts from Smith on the game and other topics:

• "Actually, I've been trying not to think about it, but the guys on the team kept talking about it (Monday), so it kind of forced me to think about it. It'll be unreal. Being with the Jets for five years, and now to face against those guys you fought with, and did some good things with ... It's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to hitting Eric Smith (a close friend) and seeing those guys."

• Feelings about the Jets: "I have so much love and respect for those guys -- the organization, Mr. (Woody) Johnson and Rex (Ryan), and I mean that. I'm not just saying it to say it."

• On when it dawned on him that his days with the Jets were over: "I don't know if I can pinpoint it, but when free agency opened up, just talking to them and seeing where everybody was ... Time started ticking when you could sign. I started thinking, 'What if I'm not back? What if I'm not playing with these guys next year?' That's when it entered my mind."

• Fondest memories in New York: "So many. The thing that is helping me now is going back to my rookie year (2006), that first draft class when coach (Eric) Mangini was there. We all went through it -- Brick (D'Brickashaw Ferguson), Nick Mangold, Eric Smith, all those guys. It was tough. I'll never forget how all those guys came from different backgrounds, and we really became close, really good friends."

• On his closest friend, Smith, with whom he spoke only a couple of days ago: "He's not allowed to hit me. That's the rule for this week (laughing) ... We're like brothers. You get along with you're going against everybody else, but when you go against each other, there's probably going to be a fight."

• Thoughts on the Tim Tebow controversy/phenomenon (remember, Smith was a college quarterback who was drafted as a wide receiver): "I met him at a high-school quarterback camp in California, where I was a counselor. I got a chance to sit and talk with him and work out with him. He's a good guy. As a quarterback, he deserves a chance to learn and grow, just like any other young quarterback. He definitely deserves a chance."