Josh Smith is counting down to his first training camp.
The former Tennessee and Christian Academy of Knoxville wide receiver is leaving Knoxville for the first time in his career for Metairie, La. to link up with the New Orleans Saints.
“The NFL, everyone is just good at that level,” Smith said Monday at a send off party for the NFL rookie in West Knoxville. “There’s not one person that drops off, every single player is so much better.”
The Knoxville native, who signed a contract with the Saints in June, will trade catching passes at Neyland Stadium for catching from a future hall of fame quarterback.
“It’s been an unreal moment in my life,” Smith said. “Just being there, seeing Drew Brees and throwing with him. I’m still that little kid that looks at him like he’s a superstar and celebrity. I’ve thrown with Peyton Manning too so that’s a double win for me. It’s just cool to be around them both.”
Brees will be gunning after several of Manning’s records this season. The 39-year-old is closing in on career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Smith could help Brees get there if he makes the roster. Smith finished his Tennessee career with 63 catches for 764 yards and five touchdowns over 45 games.
The wide receiver has had a monumental June, signing with the Saints and getting married within a 48-hour time frame.
“This does rank pretty high in the weeks of my life. It was definitely a great wedding gift. Signing with them and the day after I had my wedding. It was cool to come home and kind of relax.”
The Saints Training Camp begins on Thursday July 26.