AP--Glendale, Arizona. Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was injured early Tuesday morning in an impromptu game of touch football in the parking lot of University of Phoenix stadium. Smith suffered a strained knee, which will likely not affect his performance in the NFL combines this spring.
Smith, leaving the scene of the Buckeyes' 41-14 defeat at the hands of the Florida Gators, said he was just trying to interact with fans and help himself forget what had just happened.
"There were a few kids standing around the trailers, and I thought, you know, give them a little something to remember, mix with the fans. Blow off some steam and make a positive out of a negative, you know."
Smith approached the youths, who gladly worked him into the game.
"He just seemed so sad. So we let him play," said Gator fan Kieran Woodley of Orange Park, FL. "He thought we were just going to be playing touch, though."
Smith played a position known as "all-time qb" for three downs on the field, actually a stretch of parking lot with trailers for boundaries and with light posts marking the endzones. Smith played three downs before he was injured by young Gator fan Ryan Thomas, a scrappy nine-year old from Lakeland, Florida and cousin of the aforementioned Woodley.
Woodley and Thomas, left to right, injured Smith in the parking lot.
"On first down, I ran after him and he threw the ball into my uncle's RV. Chips went everywhere and my aunt screamed. It was awesome.
On second down, he just kind of stood there--I mean, all we ran was a twist stunt and told Kieran to play a zone robber. Duh. He threw the ball into the ground that time."
At that point, though, things took a dire turn.
"He was smiling and everything, just being real cool with the kids and all," said Harold Conners, a witness to the game and acquaintance of the Woodley family. "Then he just kind of turned. He called the play real loud--HUUUUT! HUUUTT! HUUAAAGGGGHHHHHUUUT!!!--and then faked the pass and took off."
"That's when Ryan laid him out."
According to witnesses, Smith ran full speed into the defense, expecting to bowl children over effortlessly. The young Thomas had other ideas.
"We spied him on third to keep him from scrambling--what, he thinks we don't have DVRs?--and here he comes, just like we called. Taylor kept contain and forced him to my side, and I wrapped up, planted, and drove through my hips. It was way cooler than that movie Eragon, which totally sucked."
Smith hit the ground, and on the play injured his knee.
"I don't know what he was doing in the parking lot like that," commented Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel, "but that's just not what we do at the Ohio State University. Not at all."
Smith left the field under his own power, and was heard muttering the phrase "It's not fair" under his breath. According to his agent, he will be fine for the combine, and plans on enjoying the layoff as much as he can.
"They just...they just came at me so quickly," said Smith, shaking his head. "It's like they brought extra guys. I didn't know you could do that."
Thomas, for one, is looking forward to the rest of his vacation.
"We've got Eight Below and a whole collection of Yu-Gi-Oh on DVD for the ride back. It's gonna be awesome," says Thomas, who has already fielded a phone call from Nick Saban offering a scholarship.
Smith declined comment on the situation, cutting short the interview on the advice of his agent.
Troy Smith, who injured his knee in the parking lot playing with kids, is seen here trying to choke the life from Chris Leak after the game.