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Jets' LT Tyron Smith: 'There's Always Something New You Can Learn'

Former Cowboys O-Lineman Chases Super Bowl Ring With the Green & White


It should come as no surprise that Tyron Smith's dedication to his craft as an elite offensive lineman in the NFL flows from his experience in his family business.

Work ethic? It was baked into his consciousness from the time he was a youngster growing up in the California town of Moreno Valley.

"When I was younger, ever since I was 5 or 6 years old, we had a family janitorial business and we took pride in what we did," Smith, who signed with the Jets in free agency after 13 seasons with Dallas, told Eric Allen during an in-depth chat on "The Official Jets Podcast." "Because the better we did our job the more work we'll get. The pay wasn't great and we struggled growing up. But for me, I knew that if you do the job well you get another job. I'm outside cleaning windows on a building ... and I took pride in that. You got to make sure it's done right."

And while he played on the offensive and defensive lines (and was a standout in track and field) at Rancho Verde HS, earning notice from Parade magazine, and others, Smith rarely had time on the weekend to hang with his pals.

"And so for me, it was high school we're playing a game on Friday night, next day, Saturday morning, we're driving to a long destination for work somewhere, it could be like to Sacramento or Arizona for a job, and not really any kind of rest or anything like that. And so it's kind of taught you that mindset of, you know, do I really care how tired you are? You still have to do the work."

After three seasons at USC, Smith was drafted by the Cowboys as the No. 9 overall pick in 2011. One season later he was playing under the watchful eye of O-line coach and OC Bill Callahan. Callahan had left his position as assistant head coach and O-line coach with the Jets (2008-11) the year before.

"I got to give a lot of respect to Bill Callahan," Smith said. "Early in my career he just gave me that mindset, how to approach the game, how to study the game and read things while I'm on the field. And just technique-wise, you harped on a lot of technique."

Asked what he's thinking about after the ball is snapped, Smith said:

"Block them forever because you never know when the quarterback holds the ball. ... Once you have your guys locked up, why let him go? Because you don't know what's going on behind you. You don't know what's going on down the field. You're just focused on the head of that guy right in front of you."

Does he hear the whistle?

"Sometimes. Sometimes I don't and I just keep going until, 'all right, chill, chill, chill.' And you've got to have that mindset to kind of play, not play to the whistle. To play through the whistle."

See photos of the Jets' 90-man roster leading up to 2024 training camp.

Despite a decorated résumé that includes eight Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pro selections (2014, '16) and three second-team All-Pro selections (2013, '15, '23), Smith said he isn't one to rest on his laurels or take pleasure in rubbing his opponent's nose in the dirt.

"I don't talk," he said. "You don't say nothing. I'm not one of those big rah-rah guys who like talking and everything like that. I like staying neutral and just focusing on the job I need to get done, because up here [he pointed to his head], then I'm going to be all out of whack, right? The best thing is always try to stay neutral if possible."

As he continues to chase a Super Bowl ring this season, one of Smith's primary responsibilities will be protecting the blindside of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and he's eager to pull on his green and white No. 77 jersey and get to work.

"There's no job like this anywhere," he said. "And you know, for some of us on the team that haven't gotten one yet [a ring] ... if you see an opportunity to possibly get one, then why not take it?"

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