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Falcons' Antone Smith increasing value with every touch

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Always humble Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith is not one to lobby for more touches, although something special seems to happen every time he has the ball.

Smith is in a contract year, so more opportunities could translate into more money once contract talks start. If the Falcons don't lock him up, some other team is sure to lure him in free agency.

"It's in the back of my mind," said Smith, who was undrafted out of Florida State in 2009. "It’s one of those things you can't control. The numbers are going to fall into place as they are. And we've got to pay Julio [Jones].

"I'm a small piece of the puzzle. My contract is up. We just have to wait and see how that's going to unfold."

There is another reason why Smith is not focused on any future contract right now: He doesn't have an agent. Smith terminated his representative, Terry Watson, after Watson was charged with 13 counts of providing illegal benefits to North Carolina football players.

Smith, who will make $730,000 this season, is in the process of interviewing new representation. Whichever agent he hires will likley argue that Smith, even at age 29, offers the most "bang for your buck" with six touchdowns on 25 career touches and an average of 50.3 yards per scoring play.

"If you want to put it like that, yes, I can say it in that way," Smith said. "But to make a big, substantial amount of money, nah. Like I said, I’m a small piece of the puzzle. I'm just making plays right now. And I'm hot right now. That's all."

Falcons coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter keep saying they need to find ways to get Antone Smith more touches. It shouldn't be so much about getting him more carries in a crowded backfield with Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers, and rookie Devonta Freeman. But the Falcons should find more creative ways to get Smith in space so he can show off that dynamic explosiveness.

Smith was asked if he might approach the coaches for more touches.

"No," he said. "My job is just to be a great teammate and go out and do my job. And that's all I try to do. I don't try to control what's going on upstairs, who makes decisions when I'm in there, when I'm out. I just go out there and when my name is called, just go out there and do the best to my ability."

Smith said he's not "a big problem for other teams right now" because of the attention drawn by the likes of Jones, Roddy White, and Jackson. He credited Koetter for putting him in good situations and credited the offensive line for creating holes for him to run through.

The 5-foot-9, 192-pound Smith also dismissed the theory that his touches have been limited because he is not known as a blocker.

"That's what they’re trying to make it -- a problem. I have no problem pass blocking," Smith said. "It's one of the things I said I had to work on. You've got something to work on every time. Running the ball is easy. Catching the ball is easy. But pass protection ... you've got a million-dollar quarterback with Matt [Ryan], you've got to be able to protect him. So that's why I always said pass protection, that's something everybody's got to work on as a running back.

"I have no problem with pass protection. Once you get the 'Mike' [linebacker] point, everything else kind of falls into place. That’s the biggest thing with us; the Mike point. Everything else just works out itself."

Smith refuses to characterize himself as a player in the same mold as Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush.

"I'm a running back," he said. "Whatever you want me to do -- run the ball, catch the ball, pass block, I'm on special teams running down there trying to make tackles and everything. ... Whatever I can do to help win, that's what I want to do, point blank, period."

He's earning his money every day.