Malcolm Smith relishing his Super moment

Posted Feb 4, 2014

From seventh-round draft choice in 2011 to Super Bowl MVP in 2014, it’s been a short, strange trip for Malcolm Smith and the Seahawks’ linebacker got to share part of it with Mickey Mouse on Monday.

The reality of how his life had just changed struck Malcolm Smith during one magical moment on Monday.

“I was sitting in the car, riding with Mickey, and that’s when I realized, ‘I’m the guy that’s doing this this year. It’s crazy,’ ” Smith said Tuesday.

That would Mickey Mouse – as in M-i-c-k-e-y M-o-u-s-e. The car was traveling down Main Street at Disney World. And Smith, a third-year linebacker, was the guy who was doing it this year because he had been named the Super Bowl MVP after the Seahawks’ 43-8 dismantling of the Denver Broncos on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.

Let that sink in for a moment. Malcolm Smith. Not even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine after his senior season at USC. Seventh-round draft choice in 2011, and with a compensatory pick at that. Started 11 games in his first three seasons, including eight in 2013. The “other” linebacker in a group that also includes the starting trio of middle linebacker and leading tackler Bobby Wagner; weak-side ’backer and fourth-leading tackler K.J. Wright; and strong-side ’backer Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick in 2012 who led all NFL rookies with eight sacks as a rookie.

But in Super Bowl XLVIII, no one came up any bigger for the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense than Smith. He intercepted a pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown that made the score 22-0 in the second quarter. He recovered a fumble that was forced by cornerback Bryon Maxwell in the third quarter that set up Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse and made it 36-0. He pulled down tight end Jacob Tamme for a 2-yard loss, just one of his nine tackles.

Smith was at his best in the biggest game, setting up that magical moment he shared in the Magic Kingdom with Mickey, the most iconic of Walt Disney’s cast of characters.

After celebrating the night away with his teammates at the team hotel, Smith accompanied coach Pete Carroll to the Monday morning press conference in Manhattan. Then, as the team flew back to Seattle, he headed for Orlando. Smith caught an afternoon flight out of Orlando and was back in Seattle on Monday night.

Tuesday began with exit physicals and the cleaning out of lockers at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, and that was followed by a team meeting.

Up next is Wednesday’s parade from Seattle Center to CenturyLink Field for a celebration with the season-ticket holders among the team’s 12th Man fan base.

And you’ll have to excuse Smith while he’s adjusting to his status as Super Bowl MVP.

“I feel like all the stuff that I’ve done – I went to Disney World and just realizing we’re the Super Bowl champions and people stopping me and saying, ‘Hey, man’ – it’s been fun,” Smith said. “It’s amazing the way things work out. It just feels so good to be in this position and just to bring a Super Bowl here.

“It’s just awesome.”

All the Seahawks returned from New Jersey with Super Bowl souvenirs and memories, but Smith picked up a one-of-a-kind memento. As the Super Bowl MVP, he was presented with the keys to a Chevrolet Silverado High Country at that Monday morning press conference.

Most of the Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks, who already have multiple vehicles. Not the 24-year-old Smith, who drives a Chevy Tahoe when he’s in the Seattle area and doesn’t have a car when he goes back to Northridge, Calif., for visits.

“Me and my mom were looking at options last night,” Smith said. “So we’ll make that call to Chevy and get everything figured out. My mom has been asking for a truck for a while, and I don’t have a car when I go home. So we’ll use that.”

Smith not only shared his special moment with his teammates and coaches, he has heard from “pretty much everybody I’ve ever known,” as he put it. He played at Taft High School in Woodland Hills before going to USC, where he also played for Carroll.

“Everybody’s reached out,” Smith said. “People I grew up with. My high school has my name on the marquee. So it’s pretty cool to see everything come full circle, and just kind of represent my family and my friends and the people I grew up with.”