Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Sizing up the competition
VANCOUVER — BC Lions defensive end Khreem Smith — all 6-3, 270 pounds and gold-plated upper teeth of him — has a couple of interesting jobs in the off-season.
One of those occupations you’d expect — bouncer at a Miami strip club.
The other one? Not so much.
"I teach elementary school kids — Grades 1-4," Smith said here Thursday at the downtown Vancouver hotel where the Lions held their Grey Cup Week lunch with the media.
Smith suggested the two jobs aren’t really that dissimilar — keeping people in line. And given the imposing figure he strikes, he’s quite effective at both.
So what’s the reaction of a six-year-old when a monstrous man with gold teeth tells them to do something?
"It’s the easiest job in the world," said Smith. "They’re used to normal teachers coming in and saying all nice-like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ Then they see me, the tattoos, the gold teeth, they listen to me. Oh, they listen alright.
"I don’t know what all the teachers complain about, that job’s great. I tell them to sit, they sit. I tell them to take a nap, they take a nap. There’s no troubles, no trouble at all."
Smith has some troubles in his third job, however — and they come in the form of Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Chris Garrett, who is unlikely to be as compliant to Smith’s demands in Sunday’s Grey Cup game between the Lions and Bombers.
Garrett ran for 190 yards in a 19-3 Bombers victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in last Sunday’s CFL East Division final and the conventional wisdom is that Smith and rest of the Leos defensive line are going to need to cut Garrett’s production to at least half if the Lions are going to hoist the Cup Sunday night.
"Hamilton has a great defence. I don’t know what they did wrong last weekend. I just know we can’t do the same thing this week if we’re going to win," said Smith, who joined the Lions in July from the Arena League.
BC head coach Wally Buono credits him as being one of the players who was instrumental in helping the Lions turn around an 0-5 start to the season into a berth in this week’s big game.
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