We had the good fortune of connecting with Edward Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edward, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
The most difficult professional decision I have had to make came at the end of my baseball career. After toiling in the minor leagues for 9 seasons, 1987- 95 I came to a crossroad. Do I continue to chase my childhood dream of making it to the big leagues or was it finally time to turn my focus in another direction. After years of hard work and sacrifice the frustration of never seeming to be in the right place at the right time was wearing on me. After countless sleepless nights in what would be my last summer of professional baseball (1995), I was contemplating what I would do if I actually had the courage to walk away from nearly a decade of my life. In some self reflection I started to ponder how my life may have been different if I had pursued the sport of football, accepting one of the many college scholarships during my senior year of high school. I might be in the same position as my younger brother, who was about to start his third year in the NFL. One evening, I thought to myself, maybe it’s not too late, what was stopping me from making it to the NFL. It sounded crazy but what did I have to lose if I already had thoughts about walking away from baseball. In a conversation with my brother I told him about my crazy thought to finish the baseball season, get in some football shape and give the NFL a try. My brother’s response, “if anybody can do it Ed, I know you can”, confirmed my intent to pursue the crazy dream. Keeping my intent to myself, not telling my parents, teammates. or anyone else other than my brother, I finished that season with great anticipation and a lot of fear. After a great deal of work, I transformed my body and in the spring of 1996 got my first opportunity to play football in the World League of American Football in Frankfurt, Germany. I overcame incredible odds just making that team and my performance during the season catapulted me into the NFL as a rookie at the age of 26. I played for several teams, including the 1998 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. I think back to the night I made the difficult and scary decision it was time to move on from baseball. I’m glad I was brave enough to convince myself it was a shot worth taking and not talk myself out of taking that leap of faith.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since retiring from professional sports in 2001 I have held titles in the corporate world but in recent years some of my biggest accomplishments have come as an author. I wrote and had my autobiography, EZ Does It: The Journey of a Lifetime published in 2005. The writing was a labor of love and gave me an opportunity to relive and really appreciate some of the joys and pains of my life, from start through my 15-year, two sport professional career. The general public often imagines every athlete lives a privileged life, everything is given to them. EZ Does It illustrates the ups, downs, highs and lows, sacrifices and amazing story of my incredible journey. I have also been blessed to spend years traveling as a Motivational Speaker. I have shared my experiences with business groups of all sizes and levels, youth organizations and faith based groups. I love to help others focus their energy on achieving goals, increasing performance and living their best possible life. Another passion is my radio career, which began in 2011. I am currently the lead host on the EZ Sports Talk Show The show is broadcast live every Saturday from 10:00am – Noon on KDUS 1060 AM in Phoenix, AZ. The inaugural show hit the airwaves March 4, 2017. The EZ Sports Talk Show format features a weekly in depth look at the local sports landscape; in addition to national story lines and hot topics. One of the things I am most proud, EZ Sports Talk supports a variety of charitable and non-profit organizations across the valley, providing a platform to promote and bring light to the many great causes and stories. In addition to my weekly radio show I am a part of a number of podcasts and I get frequent requests to do guest spots on other live shows and podcasts across the country.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If one of my best friends were in for a visit first thing I would have him do is rent a motorcycle to join me on a run through some of the best parts of Arizona. I have a Harley Davidson Soft Tail, which I never seem to get to ride enough. A good start to the trip would be a ride up north, especially if the visit was during the hot Arizona summer. We’d trail up to the high country in Flagstaff and then head west and up to Las Vegas. No rules on eat or drink, find a nice local spot anywhere along the ride to grab some good grub and drink some good drink. Once we hit Vegas it would be time to get a good gamble on for at least a couple days and eventually high tail it back to the valley before it was time for him to get back out of town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shout out to my Parents Edward M. Smith Jr. and Patricia Smith. I thank God every day that I had them in my life to love me, guide me and teach me what it means to be a good man, father to my son and someone I hope others can count on and come to for any need I can provide in their life.