For Minnesota Vikings linebacker ZaDarius Smith, the season opener against the Green Bay Packers is a grudge match.
ZaDarius Smith joined the Green Bay Packers in 2019 and made his name. In his first two seasons, ZaDarius Smith combined for 26 sacks and earned his two Pro Bowl selections.
However, he struggled with a back injury in his third season and feels he was taken for granted. Smith is intent on showing his former team what they’re missing out on whenever he faces them from now on.
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“I played one year of high school football,” Smith said.
“For me to be where I’m at today, that’s how you know I love the game. I put my all into it. That’s why I felt the way I did with Green Bay — I gave that s— my all. I put my blood, sweat … I put my back on the f—— line, I put everything. And that Year 3, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.
“How I was (perceived) here in the building, I came down to here, to a nobody,” Smith said. “To everybody in building. I was like, ‘Damn, why am I being treated like this?’”
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“Walking past me not saying nothing,” Smith said. “(Not) ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’ — there was none of that. As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year.”