Blue White Illustrated

December 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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6 2 D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M F ormer Penn State left tackle Dono- van Smith spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For the first seven of those eight, he was a model of consistency. In 2022, however, he missed time due to an injury, and his level of play dropped. Both Smith and the Bucs seemed to agree that a fresh start was needed, so he hit the free agent market and had to wait until after the NFL Draft to figure out where his next professional football home would be. The wait was worth it. Smith signed a one-year deal with the defending Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, back in May. "I've accomplished a lot of my goals from initially coming into the league — how long I've played, winning a cham- pionship, making a name for myself," Smith told ESPN when he signed. "I have a lot of expectations for myself. Now it's just, keep building on that." Chiefs coach Andy Reid played a big role in the decision to sign Smith, who was part of the Bucs' Super Bowl cham- pionship season in 2020. "He's been a left tackle at a high level," Reid told ESPN. "If you look at last year, he was hurt, and then the year before that he was one of the top-rated left tackles in the league. We've had a chance to play against him a couple times. I know from seeing him firsthand that he's a good football player." Smith's contract is guaranteed to pay $3 million and is worth up to $9 million, according to the NFL Network and The Athletic. So far, he is earning it as the blindside protector for star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Following its 21-14 victory over Miami in Week 9, Kansas City was seventh in the league in average yards per game (368.7). Smith has been a key part of the team's success, playing nearly every of- fensive snap this season and allowing only 1 sack and 6 quarterback hurries through nine games. Now healthy, the former Nittany Lion will look to continue propelling Kansas City to new heights each week, and per- haps another Super Bowl appearance, too. Donovan Smith Aims To Help Kansas City Return To The Super Bowl G R E G P I C K E L | G R E G . P I C K E L @ O N 3 . C O M PSU IN THE PROS Smith is in his ninth professional season and first in Kansas City after being chosen in the second round of the 2015 draft by Tampa Bay. PHOTO COURTESY KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

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