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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Cromartie-Smith makes it to Big D, big time


ARLINGTON, Texas -- For some NFL players, being at media day is part of the excitement of being at the Super Bowl. Before the festivities began, Packers cornerback Charles Woodson knelt on the field at Cowboys Stadium and took a picture of the giant scoreboard looming over the field. Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden gave interviews while wearing his own camera on a strap around his neck. Never mind the two Super Bowl rings already in his possession; McFadden wanted to document the circus for himself.

For Steelers safety Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, part of Pittsburgh's practice squad this season, the day was special for other reasons. Cromartie-Smith was given a ticket to attend the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, when his brother Terrelle Smith was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals.

But he gave it away.

"I said the first time I go to a Super Bowl, I want to be in it," he explained.

One of seven boys (and the cousin of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie), Cromartie-Smith gave the ticket to one of their brothers. Watching the Cardinals lose to the Steelers on television was tough -- particularly because their mother died of breast cancer that season -- but this time, Cromartie-Smith gets to represent the family himself.

He said he's got someone looking down on the family, and now his late mother has two sons who have reached the promised land in their chosen field.

"It means the world," Cromartie-Smith said of the Super Bowl trip. "I'm here for a lot of reasons."

There he was on Tuesday's media day, walking the sidelines, interviewing a teammate for one of the many news outlets that lets players pose as journalists, just to see what will happen.

"What's your name, sir?" asked the host before passing the microphone to Cromartie-Smith. "OK, Mark Smith."

Almost.

"This has been a crazy week," said Cromartie-Smith, who as a practice squad member would collect a ring if the Steelers win Sunday. "I've never been around this many cameras."

It's a lot to take in. He was picked up as an undrafted free agent out of UTEP and has gotten a lot of advance scouting from his brother, Terrelle, about what to expect at the Super Bowl.

"He paved the way for me in the NFL," Cromartie-Smith said. "He just said it would be the experience of a lifetime."

And so far, that's exactly right.