Minneapolis-born Elerson Smith’s first NFL season was an abbreviated one. The South High and Northern Iowa grad spent the first eight weeks of the 2021 season on the injured list with a bad hamstring injury.
The 6’-7” Smith, a fourth-round pick of the New York Giants, finally made his debut in week nine on special teams, but he eventually got to play defense as a pass rusher. He finished his rookie year with two solo tackles, assisted on five others, and one forced fumble.
“I was able to get out on the field and get to play football again,” said Smith during a recent MSR phone interview. “There’s a lot of fun for me and I enjoyed that.”
His rookie year wasn’t void of adjustments, he pointed out. The NFL is “a different game” from college: “In the NFL versus college, it’s much more a thoughtful process, more of a thinking man’s game…because everyone at this level is a great athlete,” explained Smith.
Playing and living in the Big Apple was a rush as well, he continued. “I like it. There’s a lot of fun. Playing in front of the sold-out crowds and all that stuff is fun.”
The 23-year-old Smith wants to get better. “I have put in so much work to be good at this game, to get better every day.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.