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Former Notre Dame Tight End Irv Smith Joins Jennifer Garrett on her Move the Ball Podcast

Listen to Irv Smith Share How To Turn Your Competitive Nature into a Career Asset


A year ago my friend, and former Notre Dame Fighting Irish football player, Kory Minor introduced me to Jennifer Garrett and her Move the Ball book and podcast series. If you don’t know anything about Jen or who she is/what she does ... please check out the article I wrote on her last year: Move the Ball with Jennifer Garrett.

She just dropped a new podcast this week featuring none other than former Notre Dame tight end, Irv Smith. Irv spends some time with Jen on her podcast talking about how to turn your competitive nature into a career asset.

I’m sure you’re all quite familiar with Irv Smith Sr., but here’s a little bit about Irv: Irvin Smith Sr. is a retired NFL tight end who played college football at Notre Dame and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round (20th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. During Irv’s seven seasons in the NFL, he played five years with the Saints, one season with the San Francisco 49ers, and one season with the Cleveland Browns. Irv also has a son who is currently playing in the NFL, Irv Smith Jr., who is a tight end with the Minnesota Vikings.

I’ve also written a couple of stories on Irv here at OneFootDown, and you can check them out here:

Throwback Thursday: Former Notre Dame Tight End, Irv Smith

Notre Dame Football Throwback Thursday: Irv Smith vs the Hoosiers

On Jen’s most recent episode of the Move the Ball Podcast, Irv Smith Sr. shares how his family’s passion for football and his competitive nature embedded within him the skills necessary to seize the opportunities of professional sports. Listen in as Jennifer and Irv discuss how football prepares you to persevere through life, the advantages of having a competitive attitude, and how to position yourself on a team to be an asset. Irv also discusses life after football and how he learned to identify opportunities both on and off the field.

Here are a few soundbites from the interview:

What did competitive sports teach you about life/business?

“It’s not about being a good athlete, it’s about being a good person. (All of my coaches helped me realize one thing.) One day playing sports is going to be over, and you need to learn what sports can do for you, for the rest of your life. Sports teaches you how to persevere through life. We all know that life is full of ups and downs, and if you learn how to deal with those, you will be successful.”

When you were looking at colleges, what did you think Notre Dame could do for you?

“I met a guy named Rodney Culver on my recruiting visit. Rodney was a freshmen, and was fifth or sixth string on the depth chart at the time, and he told me, ‘if you come to Notre Dame, it’s not a matter of whether or not you’ll play a day in the NFL. The difference between Notre Dame and all of the other schools you’re looking at is Notre Dame will change your life as far as life after football. The resources, the networks, the things that Notre Dame people can and will do for you, are head and shoulders above any other school.’ Not one player at any of the other schools talked about one thing outside of football. And I can say today, everything Notre Dame said they would do for me, they’ve done tenfold.”

How was your transition out of the NFL?

“Believe it or not, I started my transition out of the NFL my first year in the NFL. In 1993 I was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, and I fell in love with a franchise called Smoothie King, and within one year I opened my first Smoothie King franchise in Scottsdale, Arizona. By the time I retired in 1999, I think I had five or six locations around the Scottsdale area as I knew that’s where I wanted to live after the NFL.”

Now I don’t want to give too much of the interview away, so please, go to Jen’s podcast and listen to Irv’s interview. How To Turn Your Competitive Nature into a Career Asset

(And thank you to Jen and Irv for the very gracious shoutout. I appreciate you both so much!)

Cheers & GO IRISH!