Posted: 5:11 pm Friday, January 10th, 2014

‘Big’ Chuck Smith wishes the Falcons would call 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter


“Big” Chuck Smith, the former Falcons great and Athens native, often finds himself staring at his cell phone, waiting for it to ring, vibrate or light up.

On this morning, he was up early in Arizona before teaching his pass-rushing classes at Athlete’s Performance Institute in Tempe, Ariz. It wasn’t the call from Area Code 404 that he was really wanted.

After a brief coaching career in the NFL and the collegiate ranks, Smith, 44, has started his own business, Football 365, and travels the country as a trainer and pass-rush specialist working with some of the game’s top defenders including Denver’s Von Miller, Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins and Pittsburgh’s Jarvis Jones.

981103 SMITH HENLEY

Atlanta Falcons’ Chuck Smith (90) points to his muscle after stopping St. Louis Rams running back June Henley for no gain in the second half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Sunday, Nov. 1, 1998. The Falcons won 37-15. (AP Photo/Alan Mothner)

He’s already had one of his dream jobs and would like to have another, coaching the defensive line for the Atlanta Falcons. The position is currently vacant, but he hasn’t received a call and isn’t expecting one.

“I’ll be here and then I’ll fly to IMG Academy, the Friday after the Senior Bowl,” Smith said on Friday.

As far as the Falcons, he seems to know how the coaching fraternity works. They’ll likely hire someone who has worked with head coach Mike Smith or Mike Nolan in the past. Smith has worked with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.

“I was in denial really,” said Smith, who has 58.5 career sacks and played for the Falcons from 1991-99. “I’ve been a supporter (of the Falcons) since the 1970s. It’s been well-documented that I was a Falcons (fan) growing up in Athens and was blessed to be on the all-time team the last time it was named. All of those different blessings and having the chance to help take my state to the Super Bowl, there is no way that I could not want an opportunity to interview for the job.

“It’s my dream (job), but I’ve been in denial from saying it.”

The Falcons fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton after their dreadful 4-12 season. They are trying to fill the position before leaving to coach the North squad in the Senior Bowl, Jan. 20-25.

He doesn’t want to request an interview.

“I want to be a professional,” Smith said. “That would be up to them. Those guys know me. I’m friends with coach (Mike) Smith. …I know all of the guys. (Defensive coordinator Mike) Nolan worked me out in college. I’ve known (Nolan) from years ago.

“It would have been an honor just to interview. I know what I’ve learned and I know the things that I teach. I know the results that I’ve gotten in college and the results we got with the Jets when I was with the No. 1 defense in the league. I think that it would be an honor.”

Smith has worked with former Falcons defensive ends Chauncey Davis and Patrick Kerney, who was his first client. He’s also worked with Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora and has former Falcons linebacker Chase Thomas.

 “I did teach Osi the cross-chop and how to play the run,” Smith said. “Most of the guys on their line I’ve had a chance to work with.

“Vance Walker is one of my guys. I would have loved to have had a chance to teach him pass rush there. He wouldn’t be in Oakland right now because that guy can play.

“(Falcons tackle) Trey (Travian Robertson) was in my combine. So, it’s hard to watch guys when I know their body. I know what they need. This goes all the way back to (defensive end) Jamaal Anderson. God, it didn’t have to be that way.

“Kroy Biermann, when I told you he was a 10-sack guy, all he’s got to do is throw his rip on the fourth step. So, I’m not saying that to be pompous and cocky, but I believe that God has put me in position (to teach).”

Smith was introduced to Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome by Hue Jackson. He was later hired as a pass rush consultant by Ryan and went with the Ryan to the New York Jets. They reached the AFC championship game after the 2009 regular season.

Smith was the hot young defensive line prospect.

He was in negotiations to stay with the Jets when Tennessee, his alma mater called. He accepted the job on Derrick Dooley’s staff, but things went sour after just one season.

“I needed to lose that opportunity,” Smith said. “I left. I didn’t get fired. We mutually agreed, but I didn’t want to leave. …but as far as the Falcons are concerned it would be an honor just to interview and there is no question that I would like to. It would be my dream just to have an opportunity.”

Because of the success of his company, Football 365, Smith can look back introspectively on the Tennessee situation.

“When I went to Tennessee, I was a hot young  (defensive) line coach,” Smith said. “But when I left Tennessee. …there were things that just didn’t work out for the entire staff that affected my career. That’s the best way for me to say it.

“That’s the biggest disappointment for me. I went from having 15 NFL offers and 45 college offers to wanting to give back to my university. It didn’t work out, but it’s been a great testimonial.”

Smith is in his busy season. He’s getting ready to train Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt of Monroe,  Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and Auburn defensive end Dee Ford to name a few.

After his time at IMG, he’ll travel to the Senior Bowl to consult with his clients and work for the agents who hire him.

Smith said his greatest joy in the training business was when former Falcons great Jessie Tuggle hired him to work with his son Justin Tuggle. The Hammer’s son, who played at Northview, started his college career as a quarterback at Boston College, before transferring to Kansas State and converting to linebacker.

He made the Houston Texans and played in 15 games and made one start last season.

“To me, this is one of the most incredible training stories ever,” Smith said.

Smith has been keeping an keen eye on the Falcons’ situation.

“Bill Kollar was in the mix, but he went back to Houston,” Smith said. “I don’t know who else they’ve talked to, but to me, if I’m them, there are some unbelievably talented young defensive line coaches out there like Marion Hobby over at Clemson. If I’m them, I’d go and try to snatch Kacy Rodgers from the Miami (Dolphins) and give him what the heck he wants. Those guys are truly special at what they do. …I would offer Auburn’s Rodney Gardner and ask him to join my staff. To me, he’s an incredible coach.”

With so much on the line and Falcons owner Arthur Blank publicly stating that the team could go from worst to first next season, Smith expects the team to make a “safe” hire. Likely, someone they know already.

“I understand how it is,” Smith said. “You want guys, number one, that you’re familiar with. But in this day in time, people should look at people who can help you win a world championship. That’s what I believe.”

Oh yeah, you really can’t call him “Big” Chuck Smith anymore. He’s dropped 50-plus pounds and is slim and fit.

22 comments
zuzu331
zuzu331

Wow,what a great press release for Chuck Smith,bigmouthed Low Rent ex-Carolina Panther. I expected him to say,'All the greats were like Me.Guys like Alan Page,Gino Marchetti,Mean Joe-they all invoked the Spirit of Me even before there was a Me. Im training Ne Ne to play now,it will be a testament to......Me.'

This almost read like a real newspaper article.

Saintsr4losers
Saintsr4losers

Chuck thinks too much of himself.  Not very loyal either. Talked alot of trash after going to Carolina.

Swatsdude
Swatsdude

Surely they can at least give Chuck an interview they are considering Bryan  Cox. Chuck shoud get a look but he needs to stay off of reality TV!!!!! Can't have coaches and players distracted by RHOA!!! I feel like Chuck could really make a huge difference.


starter
starter

Not usually a good idea to hire someone who is publicly begging for an interview, especially when the person can't get another job with any other college or pro program.

Falcon Ben
Falcon Ben

The lede to this article is horrifyingly awkward. What call? I am guessing it was DLed's call, but honestly, I am not sure that is what he meant. I don't know what is more embarrassing as a Falcon fan, the fact that our hometown paper produces such a poor product, or the fans ridiculous comments on the hometown blogs. 


@ "Elvis" : Please stop misspelling our GM's name, writing silly letters and capitalizing words in your post unnecessarily. 


Leviathan
Leviathan

Mike Smith is looking for good ole boys. When I see all of the hires during the Mike Smith era, it's clear that Arthur Blank is a hands off owner and Dimitroff as well when it comes to coaching staff. At the end of the day it is Blanks team not Falcons fans team. All of the "safe" hires in the recent past have all back fired so we'll see. I have little confidence in Mike Smith as a football mind.

Rick_James
Rick_James

I personally would rather see Chuck on the staff at UGA..That street corner press conference he held after leaving Tennesee with Bob Whitefield may be part of his issue.He knows football but something is holding him back from a coaching job and it could be something he can fix..Like his personality.Best of luck Chuck.

Calel
Calel

I would love for Chuck to get this chance. He really sounds motivated, but so do most applicants seeking a job.

One thing puzzled me with his company's Web site, though. If your site is to promote your business, I would expect the site's gallery to showcase shots of you working with clients, not pics of you and NeNe Leakes and your family--although they look good (the family).

Good luck, Chuck! Even if the Falcons don't call, you're still living a blessed life! You got paid to do something that many of us only got a chance dream of. And now you are one of the smart and lucky ones to still have much of the money earned during your playing career and a good life after.

Just......tone it down on "Real Housewives"......

williar
williar

The very reason I love 90 is the same reason the Falcons will keep their distance. Honesty. 90 tells it like it is and around Flowery Branch, that doesn't fly.

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

Shameful practice to not bring in any credible coach or ex player who has ties the Falcons.

Note Credible..IMG Academy is not a chicken s^#t, day camp, after school operation.

Jacksonville...Jaguars are terrible, have been terrible and may have a few coaches worth recruiting but, we are ATLANTA.

The ATLANTA FALCONS......Our ex players are not all crap, except the Dog guy...

Give the man an interview  Mr Blank!

Force those numbskulls "Smoke" Dimitraff and "Mirrors" Smith to have him signed as an additinal consultant/coach.for the Dline.

Many have been asking before the line coaching changes to take a close look at ex Falcon DLINEMAN: CHUCK SMITH.

Anyone with the desire to improve our team should always be welcomed by the FO..

I said in game five last year, Smith needs to get his resume freshly typed.

Playing an injured Roddy, risking Matt Ryan in meaningless games and almost getting him injured,and now snubbng a viable home grown coaching candidate, only reinforces my feelings that Smith is an indecisive, inept, vengeful, and disorganized excuse for a Head Coach.

Having the fellows who used to play for the Falcons be a part of this and ever year's team builds fan loyalty.

Elvis has left the building and I still have plenty of fans...

When will the Falcons stop trying to be an appendage of JACKSONVILLE..smh

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

Only way to get a RISE out of the front office is send an email to: fans@atlantafalcons.com.

This situation of an Ex Falcon wanting to return to benefit the team and being treated as Persona Non Grata says a great deal about the loyalty to our past players.

SHAMEFUL not give the man an interview to help fill an obvious need in transforming our puny and disengaged defensive line.

Hire two coaches for the Dline, maybe three, or hire a dozen if it will improve the overall outcome.

Mr. Blank, we are the ATLANTA FALCONS, not the Jax jags or the 49'ers.

Bringing on our former talented players with specific experience and  solid resumes makes good sense and builds fan support. This applies to MUD DUCK (McClure) as well.

Elvis has left the building and I still have fans

SOB
SOB

How long does it take people? Mike Smith will hire no one who is a potential threat as his successor! He'll simply wet his pants, turn blue in the face, blame everyone but himself, kiss up to Artie and Tommy (at a level that is disgusting to any normal human being), use the same talking points he should have memorized by now (assuming he has a brain), and absolutely nothing will change. Welcome to Losersville, USA.

GreeneHornet
GreeneHornet

He convinced me. I hope he's considered. In the end I know what I think doesn't matter. 

Wrecker
Wrecker

Hire Big Chuck right now.  Love his enthusiasm and his need to teach.

Intruder
Intruder

You have to like Smith's passion. That is a huge plus in my book.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Why not?  Nothing or no one else has worked at rushing the passer the past 6 seasons!


I imagine that if Chuck had played for the Jaguars he'd been hired by now…LOL!

LowcountryFalcon
LowcountryFalcon

It's a shame that this guy didn't even get an interview...I guess because he didn't coach in Jacksonville....I still say, Brad Lawing is the best candidate!

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

Thanks for the critique..silly..ok....misspelling Tommy Boy's name...ok and capitalizing Names and words for emphasis..ok..what else you got yank!

JSSN
JSSN

@Elvis_Is_Alive 

So Elvis, you finally have a stalker-hater. Congrads, it is all downhill from here!

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

Yeah JSSN, I read that off topic comment. Glad to feel appreciated ...er...hated.

He (I presume) dislikes the writers of the AJC and and the Fans.

I can see the end of the Smith regime and it is not too far away in the distance.

AB must have had someone grade the team and the dynamic duo of TD and MS.

Always enjoy your comments

2013 we were told the Falcons were on the way to the Super Bowl..and now it will only take a year "TO FIX" the team.....with the Oline players we have today..it will take 4-5 years..