|ESPN.com: NFL Nation||[Print without images]|
|Taj Smith played in five games last season for the Colts.|
Smith’s agent, Wes Bridges, said Smith is in the second year of a three-year contract, little of which is guaranteed. His window of opportunity in professional football, which opened later than most, is small to begin with, so every paycheck, every workout bonus matters for his family and his future.
But of course Smith now resides in the limbo created by the N.F.L. lockout, hopeful but uncertain. No games. No organized practices. No paychecks. Nothing to be done that could secure his future in the game.
Back in Newark, as the sport’s labor dispute moves slowly through the federal court system, Smith has driven through the familiar, rough streets of his childhood, reacquainting himself with all that he wants to leave behind, including the building where he was robbed at gunpoint and the alley where his friend was killed. …
He admits to playing his own part in perpetuating the dead-end pathology of violence begetting violence. He says he is not looking for sympathy. Just work.