Kevin Smith relishing chance to compete with Jahvid Best

The Detroit Lions were pinning their hopes for a revitalized running game on Kevin Smith at this time a year ago.

They figured the former third-round draft pick out of Central Florida was ready for a prominent role, one they needed him to succeed in to take pressure off rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford. Smith never really got on track and then he suffered a torn ACL, so now the Lions are back at square one with their ground attack, looking for the combination of first-round draft pick Jahvid Best and Smith to get them going.

“I mean, I'm a competitor,” Smith told the Detroit Free Press. “It's not just Best. It's any back that's been in the backfield. I think he's a good addition to the backfield, and I think he'll be able to do some things to help us win games."

Smith even has a sense of humor about the competition. When Smith was asked how he felt being on the practice field with Best, he took it in stride and said their relationship is more collegial than competitive.

“We're getting to be very close. It's just basically now I'm out there -- and the things I told him and the tips I gave him, he can do the same for me now.”

It will be interesting to see how Smith’s knee is at the start of training camp. His surgery was on Dec. 22 and often times players returning from a torn ACL hit a wall after eight or nine months in their recovery. It’s clear the Lions are hoping Best is the back of the future for them but Smith isn’t going to go away without a battle. The best running teams usually need two backs to get the job done.

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