“Last Year, He Was Hurt.”

May 9th, 2023

Donovan Smith’s new head coach speaks out.

What an offensive line the Bucs put on the field last season.

All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs missed four games and dealt with injuries through a hearty chunk of the season. Right guard Shaq Mason was a rock, but only fetched a seventh-round pick when the Bucs traded him in March. Pro Bowl Center Ryan Jensen blew out his knee in July, and first-time center Robert Hainsey gave a hell of an effort trying to replace him, but Hainsey was just ok.

At left guard, rookie Luke Goedeke started but got benched for undrafted, inexperienced Nick Leverett, who the Bucs were yearning to replace this offseason. And then there was fan punching bag Donovan Smith at left tackle.

Smith was injured in Week 1 in the first half against Dallas and was never the same all season, one in which Smith admitted to having a personal problem. The Bucs cut him after the season in what seemed like a cash-saving move but perhaps it was more than that.

Regardless, noted offensive line guru Andy Reid, the Chiefs’ future Hall of Fame head coach, is forgiving of whatever ailed Smith.

Reid signed Smith last week and spoke about him for the first time yesterday.

“Yeah, so, he’s been a left tackle at a high level,” Reid said of Smith. “If you look at last year, he was hurt. And then the year before that he was one of the top-graded left tackles in the league. So, and we’ve had a chance to play against him a couple of times. I’ve seen him firsthand there. Good football player.”

For those unaware, years ago Bucs general manager Jason Licht worked as an Eagles executive when Reid was their head coach. That just adds another pebble of intrigue to the Super Bowl champs signing the Super Bowl left tackle Licht drafted — as the Bucs look for their next left tackle.

Reid is correct. Smith, who is expected to start for Kansas City, was a beast in 2021, and last year might have been his worst season.

Smith turns 30 in June and Joe is about eight months away from finding out whether the Bucs got rid of Smith too soon, or at just the right time.

63 Responses to ““Last Year, He Was Hurt.””

  1. Go Bucs Says:

    I wish smith the best in KC. He helped us get a Superbowl that’s all you ask for

  2. Allen Lofton Says:

    He has a year or two left in him. Andy Reid set the record straight on Smith.

  3. jimm Says:

    according to some philosophies a year or two too soon is on time.

  4. K2 Says:

    Unfortunately, Bucs fans didn’t like him even when he played at a high level. He was solid not great most of his career.

  5. zzbucs Says:

    Donnie wasn´t great but he was good, he progressed a lot since TB12 arrival.

    Far from loving him, that doesn´t mean I hate him (that´s for you Joe), beacause I don´t, he is the typical player with a Fat contract at his age on e franchise with cap issues that won´t be resigned, no suprprise for me , and of course I wish him nothing but the best

  6. Dooley Says:

    Smith was playing LT with one arm, even if the arm healed over the course of the season, there’s something to be said about your body being your work instrument and not having faith in a busted arm after hurting it week 1. I get it, dude drew some BS penalties on an offense that struggled to do anything, but some of the flack he’s been getting from fans is a bit much imo. Even on Twitter, seeing Buc fans interact with him it was kind of disgusting. Wish Donnie luck, tho I don’t feel I need to because Reid has a pretty well-oiled machine out in KC.

  7. SlyPirate Says:


    Smith and others looked great partly because TB12 got rid of the ball so quickly. Gonna be interesting with a new guy behind the line.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Right guard Shaq Mason was a rock –
    Joe loved Demar Dotson until a run blocking RT was drafted

  9. SufferingSince76 Says:

    He was a liability most of the time. Fans didn’t just decide Smith would be a punching bag for the heck of it. Film doesn’t lie, but coaches do.

  10. Brandon Says:

    We all know he was hurt in week 1 vs Dallas. His elbow was hyperextended. He probably should have taken half the season off to recover but he was right back in the lineup. He didn’t play well… he was pretty much one-armed the entire season. No excuses here, but he was obviously injured.

  11. CrackWise Says:

    Best LT in Franchise history!!!

    He will be great in KC. Glad to see him there vs Huston or NY Jets

  12. Dooley Says:


    idk if you’ve been keeping up, but the NYJ are loaded on offense right now lol

  13. Oxycondoms Says:

    Think they will miss on this like they did with rojo.

  14. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Bigger news yet…Bucs add a Woeful QB…won’t steal Joe’s thunder though.

  15. MadMax Says:

    Explain all the penalties…I mean I understand he was playing hurt and I admire that about him….but he hurt us more with penalties than he did being hurt himself (which may have been part of the penalty problem, i dont know).

    But I wish him well. He helped get us a SB so hopefully he can continue with that success, except when he plays us of course….

  16. fred Says:

    Iron man he didn’t miss games very dependable player I hate we Got rid of him he will ball next yr.

  17. Elita Vita Says:

    Yes Winnie, Bucs have signed a QB with a woeful TD -1 INT-5 ratio!

  18. Dooley Says:

    **Dual threat QB lol John Wolford

  19. Geno711 Says:

    For the person that mentioned Rojo.

    I didn’t miss Rojo except for the high school drama when he pouted on the sidelines with his running back coach after 3 mental errors in a span of 10 plays. It was great theatre for a player that is just a guy in the NFL.

    I also didn’t miss Rojo not being able to punch the ball in on the super bowl when the blocking was excellent inside the 5-yard line and he ran to the wrong spot on two plays in a row.

  20. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  21. Pewter Power Says:

    Forget whether he was good or not because the way that business worked if your injured don’t play it’s that simple because you can get cut anyway

    Injury or not it was a cost cutting move that had to be made. If he played at a probowl level we would have had a better season and Brady might have played another season who knows but what we know for sure is he needs an elite quarterback to make him look better than he is

  22. Geno711 Says:

    Thought Smith was worse than average his rookie year (not a surprise as most rookies are) and last year whether he was injured, disinterested, or declining.

    The other years, he was never an all pro, but he was a capable starting offensive lineman for the Bucs.

  23. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  24. Daniel Says:

    Shaq Mason played every down, but wasn’t exactly a rock over there at RG.

  25. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Keep in min that Wolford comes from the Rams so he should know how Canales will want to run the Rams/Seahawks offense.

  26. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TOMMY



  27. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Donnie has been below average for most of his career. He nearly got Winston killed on every play. He was lazy and loafed on some plays. He had two good years when Brady arrived and got paid. It was no surprise because Tom gets his tackles paid. Trent Brown and Nate Solder are example. Tom is good at manipulating in the pocket and avoiding exterior pass rush. It’s the interior rush that bothers him. Having two inexperienced guys on the interior doomed us.

    I think Donnie will be fine in KC. He’s definitely better than the tackles Mahomes had in the SB when he faced us. He was running for his life the whole game because he had backup tackles. I agree with Dooley. Reid runs a great system in KC. He’s one of the most underrated coaches in history. For all the talk of Belichick, Reid is right there with him. As a player, I would want to play for Reid than Belichick.

  28. DoooshLaRue Says:

    SufferingSince76 Says:
    May 9th, 2023 at 11:53 am
    He was a liability most of the time. Fans didn’t just decide Smith would be a punching bag for the heck of it. Film doesn’t lie, but coach

    Absolute truth!

    fred Says:
    May 9th, 2023 at 12:19 pm
    Iron man he didn’t miss games very dependable player I hate we Got rid of him he will ball next yr.

    Yeah, except for those 4 games he missed last year.

  29. Redeemer Says:

    The line was extraordinary healthy the two seasons before last. Just the law of averages. It was bound to happen.

  30. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    Durable Donnie will have a pro bowl year this year.
    Dumbass Bucs will be tanking with a EPIC hole at LT.
    Go figure?

  31. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    The Glazers motif seems to be decades of complete suck and ineptitude followed by 2-3 years of championship caliber teams and then the cycle repeats.

  32. All_da_way Says:

    I can’t respect players that loaf. D. White, D. Smith, etc these guys can be better than they are but they settle to be “good enough”.

  33. Pickgrin Says:

    Apparently Reid knows something the rest of the league doesn’t – because Smith was available on the open market for 2 months and then eventually signed for half of what he would have made this year if the Bucs hadn’t cut him…

    Just sayin…. There are 30 other teams out there and not that many of them have a “good” LT….

  34. Pickgrin Says:

    correction – signed for less than half……

  35. LuvMeSomeBucs Says:

    Holding, loafing, got butt hurt everyone calling him out.

  36. Pickgrin Says:

    Nothing says “We love you – you are our guy” like an incentive laden 1 year low ball contract…. LOL

  37. Rand Says:

    They also wanted to shed his salary

  38. JonBucFan Says:

    Lol!!! Here’s the deal Nick, how about 600k and you come play for the Bucs???

  39. BootyLover Says:

    What were the personal issues he was dealing with? Can someone make it my business? Was he arrested?

  40. Jeff Says:

    Healthy and proper coaching! DS is gonna ball out!

  41. SOEbuc Says:

    Was he injured every year before Brady in 2020??? Had the most reliable to stay on the field over years but got penalties out the ying yang and the run around all day.

  42. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    He is the most penalized LT in the league, maybe in history, and was “healthy” for most of his carrier. Thanks for the SB, and good luck in KC. Not disappointed he’s moved on.

  43. gotbbucs Says:

    What else is Reid going to say?
    “He sucked last year. We’re hoping it was all injury related, but who knows?”

  44. Obvious Says:

    He, himself got himself fired. That’s to start with….

    This is a simple situation. Smith played the WORST ball that we’ve ever seen him play last year, he was in a contract year, he was getting paid TOP DOLLAR to be THE WORST TACKLE in ALL of football.

    We were upside down (cap) almost 100 Million dollars, had to make cuts and his name was the first on the list to cut. Lousy play equals No JOB!

    You guys are making it out like everyone was demanding that he be cut. That WAS NOT the current situation.
    Though, admittedly, him being removed from the team by fans was a thing before Brady came along and he started to play to his abilities. Back then (before Brady) many wanted his head for perceived lousy play. Not so much as of late though.

    He DESERVED to be cut after the LOUSY performance he put on last season!

    He Earned his way Off the team to a lesser paying gig. He lost MILLIONS of dollars due to him being the worst tackle in all of football and is LUCKY to have a job anywhere At All after what he brought to the playing field last season.

    I’m sure he’s Grateful he has a job at all and HE KNOWS WHY THAT IS and why he JUMPED at the chance to make less money vs having no job at all!

  45. Game film doesn't lie Says:

    When re-signed Smith after his first contract Cam Jordan of the Saints tweeted out..food solidified for another 3 yrs now come on back bruhhda

    And last year I think it was Baldinger said that he thinks they could have called a holding penalty on him every play in that game.

    We can thank him for the Superbowl year but his career body of work was just ok.

  46. Destinjohnny Says:

    What about the other 9 years?

  47. Stuck Says:

    I was hurt last year as well.

  48. Garv Says:

    Frankly I’ve thought Donovan’s injury was by FAR the reason for his poor season. The man played with a useless and painful elbow all year and a LT blocking with one arm has no CHOICE but to hold when trying to block for an immobile 45 year old QB. To me that was and is obvious.

  49. PNW Buc Says:

    Someone above said Big D was the Bucs best LT ever, respectfully disagree, Paul Gruber.

    Love you Big D, thank you for solidifying that left side, but you got slow. What I remember Joe about 2021, Von Miller ate Big D’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night taco’s…

  50. Obvious Says:

    I’m not saying he wasn’t hurt.
    I’m saying that no matter the reason he was rated “literally” the worst tackle in football last season. And the result was a huge salary dump.

    What would you do in Jason Lichts shoe’s? Up against the cap BIG TIME.
    Contract year.
    Salary already Very High
    Worst in football last season
    Expecting a raise?

    Perfect candidate to cut. They had to shave almost 100 million upside down to.

    He was the “Obvious” choice….

  51. Beeej Says:

    $15 million, simply couldn’t pay that much for that performance

  52. BigMacAttack Says:

    We would not have a championship without him and he wouldn’t without the rest of that team. Sometimes you just have to move on because circumstances dictate it.

  53. Buccos Says:

    Holding penalties are laziness and stupidity. It means you aren’t moving your feet and getting in the proper position. Also, how many big plays were called back. He has no awareness of the situation. He looked better than he was with Brady as QB because he gets rid of the ball so quickly. He is definitely in decline. His run blocking sucks too. He has no power and doesn’t finish his blocks. Thanks for the mammories DS. Move along

  54. SlyPirate Says:


    If the only issue with D Smith was an injury, that he had recovered from, he would be in Tampa. Donovan had personal and mental issues that he was somewhat public about. TB12 even discussed them. Licht (and the team) obviously lost confidence.

  55. DoooshLaRue Says:

    BigMacAttack Says:
    May 9th, 2023 at 7:00 pm
    We would not have a championship without him and he wouldn’t without the rest of that team. Sometimes you just have to move on because circumstances dictate it.

    I assert that we would have won 2-3 more games that year and still won the SB without DD.
    He was decent at his best and terrible at his worst.
    Mentally weak (remember COVID?), lazy and no fire.
    He is big and for the most part, dependable.

    That’s it.
    So glad he’s gone and I’ll be here all season to remind all the dolts who defend him and say he’ll be great in KC that you were wrong.

  56. Geno711 Says:

    I’d say that Donovan Smith was a little bit more valuable (or better) than Paul Gruber. It is clearly a different type of game.

    Career metrics sure seem to support Donovan over Gruber as well. Yet, I don’t have a problem with a different opinion.
    Personally, when I watched the games with Gruber back in the day, I never understood the love for his game that many Bucs fans had.

    Again, if you have a different opinion, ok with me.

    Just don’t personally support opinions that say, “I assert that we would have won 2-3 more games…” without Donovan Smith.

  57. Ed McSherry Says:

    What would the narrative be if they kept Smith?

    Wasn’t the consensus about the O-line all last year: “Do something! Anything!

    Changes had to be made, no?

    Okay, they keep Smith for this year and then what?
    Where would you make the changes?
    Would keeping Smith really be part of the solution?

  58. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Perhaps you should rewatch the Gruber games and refresh your obvious failing memory.
    Of course I have no problem with your failing memory or your apparent low expectations for modern day LTs.

    To each his own I say……and

    Donovan sucks.

  59. Goatfarmer Says:

    Reid will have him making the pro bowl in 2023.

    Meanwhile, Bucs headcoich could coach Joe Thomas into being Oneil’s Cousin. I’m afraid for Wirfs.

  60. Stanglassman Says:

    I know fans don’t like Smith but I don’t believe the coaching staff ever lost faith in him. He was just a cap casualty period. It’s not like they didn’t know that he was injured and going through some problems in his personal life. I expect him to bounce back and have a good year. Is his best football behind him? Probably yes like most 30+ OL players.
    LT is probably the 2nd most difficult job in football and DSmith was a hell of a great 2nd round pick. I wish him the best.
    Bucs fans have got to be some of the dumbest in any sport. Too dumb to know what they don’t know.

  61. Goatfarmer Says:

    Proper coiching could turn the 1967 Packers into the 2008 Detroit Lions.

    And the Bucs have just the proper headcoich to do it.

  62. firethecannons Says:

    The penalties, the touchdowns called back, the lack of effort, the headlocks instead of proper technique. No they can have his sorry ass.

  63. garro Says:

    I think Donald Penn could come off his couch right now and be a better LT than Donovan ever was. Gruber was great and yes I watched him play at the old sombrero. But give me a fired up Donald Penn any day.