When training camp opened one look at Shaun Smith was all it took to know he lost weight since the end of last season.
Ultimately it did not help because on Wednesday he lost his job.
The Tennessee Titans announced they waived the veteran defensive tackle a day before their third preseason contest. They are scheduled to face the Arizona Cardinals, 7 p.m. Thursday at LP Field (ESPN).
The move was the first of many to come. NFL rules mandate that teams must reduce their rosters from a maximum of 90 to 75 by Monday. Another round of cuts is scheduled following the final preseason contest.
"It's been real Nashville time to c what team I will be on next but am thankful for everything and the lord will continue to bless me,” Smith posted on his Twitter feed.
Smith was the first defensive free agent the Titans signed following last year’s lockout.
At 6-foot-2, 325 pounds, he was considered important to the team’s efforts to get bigger along the defensive line under coordinator Jerry Gray. He did not make enough big plays, though, and quickly was passed on the depth chart as draft efforts at that position quickly paid dividends. He finished with 44 tackles, his highest total in three seasons, and had a sack.
Playing for his fourth team in as many seasons, Smith started the first six games of 2011 but was bumped to a backup by Sen’Derrick Marks, a second-round pick in 2009. He played as a reserve for the next nine contests but was inactive for the final game.
He also fell behind 2011 selections Jurrell Casey (third round), who started 15 games last fall and Karl Klug (fifth round), who led the team in sacks. Two others, Zach Clayton (seventh round, 2011) and Mike Martin (third round, 2012) added to the youth movement and competition at that spot.
It was clear he understood his predicament this offseason by the change in his physique as well as his demeanor on the practice field. Playful and a constant source of loud chatter throughout last season, he consistently was quiet and business-like beginning with organized team activities in June all the way to his last days.
"Thanks for the love ppl gonna miss my young killers in the D line in my honor I should of made better life decisions lol keep grinding,” he wrote in a later post on Twitter.
Smith, who turned 31 last weekend, entered the league as an undrafted free agent and spent time with Dallas and Arizona before he earned a spot on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad and then their active roster. He spent three full seasons with Cincinnati, two with Cleveland and one with Kansas City before he came to the Titans.