Patience is starting to pay off for Riders quarterback Brett Smith.
Smith, at least temporarily, is the team's new third-string quarterback after the release of Tino Sunseri on Sunday evening.
"I've been through that before and come out on the wrong end of the stick," said Smith.
"So, to still be here with these guys and these coaches, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Until Monday, Smith didn't spend much time in the spotlight during Riders training camp. He was thrust into the fire on Monday as a swarm of media waited to speak to him after the the team's first practice since their pre-season loss to Edmonton.
Mid-stride, Smith opened the scrum with a joke, suggesting it was nice to meet everyone. If Smith was nervous, it wasn't showing.
That's probably because Smith has been through much more in his career than just having to deal with a circle of reporters.
"I declared (for the NFL Draft) early. I wanted to pursue my dream of being an NFL quarterback. It didn't work out," said Smith.
Smith would end up attending Tampa Bay rookie camp after going undrafted.
That trip didn't last very long.
"(I) was told some things by the coaches and it just didn't pan out. I was there for a very short period," he said.
Smith would sign with the Toronto Argonauts last July but was released in September. Since then, Smith split his time working at his grandfather's vineyard and bartending.
"I'm glad I did it. But, it wasn't fun. It's not my passion, it wasn't my dream. Football's my dream,"
Smith refused to give up on that dream, so he stayed in shape the best he could.
Over the off-season he had the opportunity to sign in the Arena Football League. Instead, he told his agent he wanted to pursue a career in the CFL.
At some point along the way the Riders became interested in Smith.
"I think, (Jeremy O'Day) brought (some game film into) our office. (Jacques Chapdelaine) took a look at him and thought he looked like some of the guys he had in other place," said head coach Corey Chamblin.
It appears the decision to release Sunseri came down to how he managed the game in the fourth quarter against the Eskimos.
During Smith's one quarter of play, he threw for 99 yards and a touchdown.
The performance on that touchdown pass even caught the eye of starting quarterback Darian Durant.
"First and foremost, he got away from an all-star defender in Odell Willis. That's not easy in itself," he said.
"He stayed poised. He knew he had a free play (because of a flag) and he made a play. That's exactly what he talked about before he went out there."
Durant even sees a little bit of himself in Smith.
"That's exactly how I feel I was able to make the team in my rookie year. I went out there and just made plays," said the pivot.
"I guess that's another reason why I was so excited for him. It reminded me of what I did to make the team at first."
Smith knows the work isn't done at this point. He's survived two weeks. Now he needs to keep the job he's got at the moment.
News and Notes
There was some good news on the injury front on Monday as Weston Dressler, Terrell Maze and Levi Steinhauer all returned to practice. Safety Tyron Brackenridge was also limited.
Ryan Smith did not practice after leaving Saturday's game. Chamblin hopes to have Smith back in the coming days.
Steven Miller and Akwasi Antwi also did not practice. Antwi has a brace on his left leg.
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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