- Akili Smith
caption=Akili Smith at the
Calgary Stampeders2007 training camp
birthdate=birth date and age|1975|8|21
birthplace=San Diego, California
Green Bay Packers(2003-2004)*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers(2004-2005)*
Calgary Stampeders(2007):*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Kabisa Akili Maradufu Smith (born
August 21, 1975in San Diego, California) is a former professional football quarterbackfor the CFL's Calgary Stampederswho also formerly played for the Cincinnati Bengalsof the National Football League. He was the third overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draftafter fellow quarterbacks Tim Couchand Donovan McNabb. Despite the initial hype surrounding his success as the quarterbackat the University of Oregon, he did not fit in with the Cincinnati Bengals, and played only two games in 2001 and was cut in 2002. He was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneersin June 2005.
Smith rocketed to the foreground of draft discussions because of his stellar performance in his senior year at Oregon, throwing 32
touchdownpasses in only 11 starts at the college level. Prior to that, Smith graduated from Lincoln High School, the alma mater of Marcus Allenand Terrell Davis.
1999 NFL Draft, Smith faced stiff competition from other rising quarterbacks. In a year when five quarterbacks would be drafted in the first round, Smith was the third quarterback and third player selected overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Prior to his drafting there was a huge effort by the
New Orleans Saintshead coach Mike Ditkaand management to get the Bengals' high draft position so the Saints could get Ricky Williams. The final offer, which was refused by the Bengals management, was for 9 draft picks, several extra in this year as well as many in the next year. Instead of taking the trade, the Bengals stuck with their initial decision to draft Smith, who, while undeniably athletic -- he had also played some professional baseball -- was still largely unproven, having only impressed at the college level for one season.
Smith missed large periods of 1999 pre-season training with the Bengals due to contract disputes; many pundits later speculated that his absence from this short training period hurt him immensely in the seasons to come. Despite incredible shows of athleticism in his early games, he failed to grasp the Bengals playbook fully, and never established himself with the team. Throughout the four years he was with the Bengals, he would only start in 17 games, eventually leading to his outright release in the 2002 season.
Smith joined other highly drafted Bengals players such as
David Klingler, Ki-Jana Carter, and Peter Warrickwho as a result of injury, bad work ethic, bad management and coaching decisions, or simply poor performance, failed to live up to the high expectations that came with being selected early in the first round. Such picks are considered a major reason for the Bengals' dismal performances during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Green Bay Packers
In 2003, Smith tried out as
Brett Favre's backup, but again failed to mesh with the team. In 2005, he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneersafter a visit to NFL Europe where he started 4 games for the Frankfurt Galaxy.
2007, Akili Smith signed a two-year contract with the Calgary Stampedersof the Canadian Football League, where he was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job with another former NFL player, Henry Burris. After a fairly underwhelming debut in an exhibition against the Edmonton Eskimos, Smith played extremely well in the final exhibition against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Though listed going into the game as the third-string quarterback, Smith completed three touchdownpasses in only a half of play, including one to former NFLplayer Marc Boerigter.
In his first regular season action, replacing Henry Burris in the 2nd quarter on July 12, Akili struggled mightily against the
Toronto Argonauts. He finished 6/10 for 63 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. He also lost 1 fumble. Smith was pulled at the end of the half.
After an unimpressive showing against the
Saskatchewan Roughriderson October 8, 2007, going 4 for 12, for 37 yards, along with the impending return of a healthy Henry Burris, the Calgary Stampedersreleased Akili Smith on October 10, 2007. [ [http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/news_story/?ID=220281&hubname=cfl TSN.ca] ]
* [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1603429 "Akili Smith Misses Cut as Favre's Backup"] from
ESPN( August 26, 2003)
* [http://www.cfl.ca/index.php?module=roster&func=display&ros_id=1137 Akili Smith] at CFL.ca
* [http://www.footballdb.com/players/akili-smith-smithak01 Akili Smith at The Football Database]
* [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/1999/nfldraft/video/akili_smith.html CNNSI.com Draft Video]
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