Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UFL shutdown sends Chris Smith home, but could lead to NFL

Its’ been a whirlwind kind of week for Chris Smith.

The Palmetto High graduate arrived in Omaha, Nebraska, last Wednesday to begin training camp for the United Football League Nighthawks.

Today he is heading home. Oh no. He didn’t get cut. In fact the Nighthawks are counting heavily on the defensive back, who finished up his career at Northern Illinois last season earning first team Mid-American Conference honors.

All five of the league teams were ordered to shut down camps until August and delay the season opener until September.

“I got here a week ago and have basically been going to meetings and going over the playbook,” Smith said. “They told us yesterday (Tuesday) that they were closing down camp and now I am just waiting for a plane ticket home. We’ve heard the camp opening is going to be delayed about a month.”

Though he wants to play football, the delay could bring some good fortune to Smith. He is hoping it will open some doors to some NFL teams.

“My agent told me that some teams called about me, mainly the Rams and the 49ers. I don’t know if this will turn out to be a better opportunity. We will see,” Smith said.

The move to close camps was made for various reasons, UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue said. The UFL wants to improve its financial situation and accommodate some UFL players who want to give the NFL a chance now that the lockout appears to be close to ending.

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