Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smith Takes Different Path; Super Bowl MVP Has Come a Long Way for a 7th-Round Draft Pick

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Smith Takes Different Path; Super Bowl MVP Has Come a Long Way for a 7th-Round Draft Pick

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

NEW YORK | It is an unofficial tradition the morning after the Super Bowl. The game's Most Valuable Player gets up early, puts on a suit and attends a news conference to receive his new car keys.

But just like his road to the podium, Monday in midtown Manhattan was different than most Super Bowl MVPs, so was Malcolm Smith's choice of attire.

Instead of the jacket and tie, Smith wore cargo pants and a shirt with camouflage sleeves.

"I definitely have a suit with me, but I'm dressed to go to Disney World," he said in a hotel ballroom.

Orlando was the next stop on the Malcolm Smith Victory Tour. After a scheduled parade Monday, it was back to Seattle for a parade on Wednesday.

Smith was voted MVP, the first defensive player since Baltimore's Ray Lewis in 2001, thanks to his 69-yard interception return for a touchdown in Seattle's 43-8 win over Denver Sunday night.

"I didn't think I would get to the point of being MVP, but to be here is pretty cool," he said.

For the Seahawks, it capped a dominating defensive season.

In the regular season, they led the NFL in points allowed (14.4) and yards allowed (273.6) allowed per game and takeaways (39).

In the playoffs, they allowed only 13.3 points and had eight takeaways; they allowed 339.3 yards per game because they played with a lead and New Orleans and Denver in particular went to the passing game.

For Smith, it capped a season in which he arrived as a regular contributor.

Before this year, he had started only three of 30 regular season/playoff games and had 22 tackles and no interceptions. This year, he started 10-of-18 games and had 72 tackles and four interceptions.

Not bad for a guy who was drafted in the seventh round in 2011 draft out of USC, ahead of only 12 players.

"We've appreciated Malcolm's athleticism, smarts and toughness for a long time," coach Pete Carroll said. "He's had a huge impact and it's because he's such a well-rounded athlete and knows our system so well."

Smith was just one of several great individual stories that combined to make a great team story. …

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