Browns defensive end Za'Darius Smith almost joined the Ravens a second time
By Randy Gurzi
One of the many new faces at Cleveland Browns OTAs is Za'Darius Smith, who was added in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. A dominant pass rusher who has had at least 10 sacks in three of the past four seasons, Smith took some time to speak with the media after practice.
The veteran pass-rusher admitted to having some rough endings with both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers but thinks it's the Baltimore Ravens that might be ready to boo him this season. That makes sense given he began his career there and is now a member of the Browns but he gave another reason fans might be sour.
Smith reportedly came close to returning to Baltimore last season but he said there was a leak that a deal was done, which was incorrect. In the end, he landed with the Vikings who traded him to Cleveland this year. But he's not sweating it and instead, thinks it could be fun to play the villain in Baltimore.
"It was something where somebody leaked something and said that I agreed to the deal, but I never did. And a lot of Baltimore Ravens fans are upset about that. Like when I said when I get ready to go back, it's going to be pretty fun because a lot of people may be booing and a lot of people may be happy for me at the same time. So it's all fun and games at the end of the day."- Smith via Bobby Kownack, NFL.com
Za'Darius Smith is healthy and ready for a larger role in 2023
Perhaps that miscommunication with Baltimore had something to do with Smith recently getting a bad rap from Albert Breer. Although, he also said injuries — and how they were tied to his contract — during his time in Green Bay and Minnesota had a negative impact as well.
He added that he's fully healthy now and ready to go all-out in 2023. And he's been excited about getting to work with Myles Garrett.
He also seems excited about being the bad guy when Cleveland takes on the Ravens, which could be fun for fans to see.