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Saturday, November 22, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By José Miguel Romero
Sherman Smith was the first to do many things as a Seattle Seahawk.
He was the first offensive player the Seahawks ever drafted, selected with the team's second pick of the second round in 1976, its inaugural season. He was the first Seahawk to rush for more than 100 yards in a game, gaining 124 on 14 carries in the Seahawks' first regular-season home victory, a 30-13 win over Atlanta at the Kingdome.
Smith was the first Seahawk to wear uniform No. 47, and no other player has worn it since 1992. He was the team's first rushing leader, the forerunner to the great Seahawks running backs of franchise history Curt Warner, Chris Warren, John L. Williams, Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander.
Twenty-one seasons after leaving the Seahawks in a trade just before the 1983 season, Smith is still in the NFL. He's the running-backs coach for the Tennessee Titans, one of the AFC's top teams, and spends his days working with running backs Eddie George, Robert Holcombe and rookie Chris Brown.
Smith and his family wife Sharon, daughter Shavonne and son Sherman have made the Nashville area their home for the seven seasons Smith has coached in Tennessee. He joined the franchise when they were the Houston Oilers, and has been with coach Jeff Fisher since 1995.
Shavonne graduated from the University of Tennessee with a master's degree in education and is now a teacher. The younger Sherman is a junior defensive back at Miami of Ohio, his father's alma mater, and is majoring in manufacturing and engineering.
Smith has been coaching since 1985, two years after he ended his playing career. After leaving the Seahawks, he played for the San Diego Chargers, then came back to the Seattle area as a teacher and coach at Redmond Junior High School and Redmond High School.
In 1990, he returned to his former college team as running-backs coach, then spent three years at the University of Illinois (1992-94) coaching tight ends and running backs.
"Every level is a different challenge," Smith said. "It's the same game, but I relate well to these guys (in the pros). Coaching at this level has been no more rewarding than at every other level."
Smith may be working for another NFL team, but he's still a Seahawks fan. He recalls how he got used to the rain and overcast skies of "the prettiest place I've ever lived in," and the excitement of how the city took to the Seahawks.
"I hope we (the Titans) have an opportunity to meet them (the Seahawks) in the playoffs," Smith said, referring to this year's Super Bowl.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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