Jimmy Smith makes AFC North Ironman team on perseverance

When cornerback Jimmy Smith signed his extension with the Baltimore Ravens last offseason, he was asked what he still wanted to accomplish.

“If I could just play the whole season," Smith quipped.

Smith, the often-injured defender, did more than play the entire season. He was on the field for the second-most snaps of any cornerback in the division, putting him on the AFC North's Ironman team.

The impressive part was that Smith fought through 939 snaps without being at full strength. He finally acknowledged minutes after the season finale that he was still limited by a foot injury that ended his 2014 season.

“My foot was huge for me,” Smith said. “I didn’t really realize how slow I was, or how much I couldn’t cut or burst until I really got into live action.”

Smith had an uneven 2015 season, grading out as the No. 87 cornerback by Pro Football Focus. He allowed six touchdowns, but he returned one interception for a touchdown and would've had another if it hadn't been negated by penalty.

Still, it marked only the second time in his five-year NFL career that he played in every game.

“It was rough for about eight, nine games until I could really get my movement back,” Smith said. “Each week I tried new things just to feel like my old self. Towards the end of the season, I feel like I was starting to get back better."

Smith was one of nine Ravens who made the Ironman team. Right guard Marshal Yanda led the division with 1,078 snaps, which ranked ninth in the NFL.


QB: Andy Dalton, Bengals (757 snaps)

RB: DeAngelo Williams, Steelers (655)

FB: Kyle Juszczyk, Ravens (369)

WR: Antonio Brown, Steelers (967)

WR: Kamar Aiken, Ravens (891)

TE: Gary Barnidge, Browns (888)

LT: Joe Thomas, Browns (1,041)

LG: Ramon Foster, Steelers (1,010)

C: Alex Mack, Browns (1,041)

RG: Marshal Yanda, Ravens (1,078)

RT: Rick Wagner, Ravens (1,074)


DE: Cameron Heyward, Steelers (924 snaps)

NT: Brandon Williams, Ravens (684)

DE: Stephon Tuitt, Steelers (831)

OLB: Courtney Upshaw, Ravens (750)

OLB: Elvis Dumervil, Ravens (747)

ILB: Lawrence Timmons, Steelers (1,004)

ILB: C.J. Mosley, Ravens (990)

CB: William Gay, Steelers (1,013)

CB: Jimmy Smith, Ravens (939)

S: Mike Mitchell, Steelers (994)

S: Reggie Nelson, Bengals (938)