Troy's once again the man

Staff Writer
The Columbus Dispatch

One thing you have to say about former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith: The man is resilient, he's like a human cork, managing to float to the surface time after time.

First, he rose above the blighted inner-Cleveland neighborhood in which he grew up, living with a foster family while his mother battled drug problems. Then he survived getting booted out of St. Edward High for giving a vicious elbow to an opposing player during a basketball game, earning a scholarship offer from Ohio State, anyway.

At OSU, he took over from highly touted QB Justin Zwick and played so well he relegated Zwick to the bench. Then he re-surfaced after his bust for taking money from a booster.

Now, he has overcome a horrendous national-title game and dropping to the fifth round of the NFL draft, to be named the Baltimore Ravens' starting QB this week.

Good for Troy. This is exactly why Baltimore was seen a good opportunity for him. When he was drafted, it was pointed out that Ravens starter Steve McNair was brittle -- he's now hurt. Backup Kyle Boller was a former first-round bust -- he has played poorly and now is out with a concussion.

So Smith gets his shot. The only thing he needs now, I believe, is a change of coaches. Brian Billick for some reason seems reluctant to say anything nice about Troy. Billick may be wearing out his welcome in Baltimore as his defense ages, and the former offensive "guru" at Minnesota has never been able to put together a very good offense with the Ravens.

He's been there almost 10 years now. If he goes, Smith might benefit. That would fit the pattern of Troy's whole life, survive and move on.