Five years ago, Troy Smith had a chance to become the starting QB for the Baltimore Ravens. Starter Kyle Boller was out with an injury and the team had just drafted a big, tall kid from a small-time college program at the University of Delaware named Joe Flacco. Flacco was drafted in the first round to carry a clipboard for awhile learn from Boller and Smith to one day become the franchise QB they hoped when they selected him. But not for awhile, perhaps even the first year or so.
Most people know the story all too well, none more so than Troy Smith, whose throat infection and illness opened the door for Flacco to be thrusted into the starting role, one which he has not relinquished nor missed a single game since that 2008 season. By the time Smith recovered, Joe Cool was number one on the depth chart, in the hearts of fans and Smith was on his way out of town and has since jumped around the league trying to find an opportunity that he truly never had.
A story on Yahoo! Sports details what will be the biggest challenge and maybe even the final chance that Troy has to revive his NFL career and stay in the league at this point for the 27-year old who played only a few hours away at THE Ohio State University, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2006.
Now Smith finds himself in the interesting position of competing for a roster spot on the team that is Baltimore's biggest rival, with their own star quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. Smith would love to earn a backup role on a team that is a perennial playoff contender, which could perhaps have him one injury away from starting in the NFL. However, Smith is far from a lock to make the Steelers and probably is actually more of a longshot to be on the roster by the start of the regular season.
According to the article, Smith must now compete with experienced veterans Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch to back up Roethlisberger. At this point of the three guy's careers, Smith brings more athletic ability than either of the other less mobile veterans, but is nowhere nearly as comfortable with the team's playbook with either other guy, both of whom have been with the team for years now.
While Smith was a fan favorite when with the Ravens, who called for him to start instead of watching Kyle Boller screw up over and over, it will be strange to see him in the black and gold uniform of their mortal enemies and if he does earn a spot and takes the field against Baltimore, expect no love lost between the players wearing different color uniforms when they collide on the gridiron.