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His exit was like most NFL endings. Daryl Smith had air max 1 uk no time to say goodbye. Nine years in one city, 679 tackles, and Smith, the heart and soul of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense, crammed in most of his farewells through texts and phone calls. He did not get his locker boarded up in a symbolic gesture of irreplaceability; it belongs to an offensive lineman now. Time presses on, the Jaguars are getting younger, and Smith, at 31, is getting older.So he headed to Baltimore and just so happened to arrive the day the Ravens were at the White House celebrating their Super Bowl championship. President Obama told a few jokes that day, and, in a particular one directed at Ray Lewis, he asked the team not to rip up the White House lawn.Lewis, the whole world knows, is now retired after 17 years in Baltimore, and his farewell tour at the end of 2012 became a rallying cry for the Ravens’ championship. His legend is so large that his corner locker was sealed and plans were made to erect a statue in his honor.On June 5, in an effort to fill that massive void, the Ravens signed Smith to a one year contract for a bargain price of $1.125 million. The transaction barely made a ripple, which is sort of fitting for a man who has gone much of his NFL career relatively unnoticed, mainly because he played in Jacksonville.They’ve noticed in Florida, where roughly 10 players huddled around a TV in the Jaguars’ locker room last week, watching Smith in a replay of a meaningless preseason game. It seemed so weird to them, seeing him wearing another team’s uniform. Nine years is an NFL lifetime, and Smith’s replacement has big shoes to fill.It’s a theme throughout the NFL. Change is a constant, but the 2013 offseason left some jarring vacancies. Baltimore is dealing with two of them with the loss of Lewis and safety Ed Reed, who’s now in Houston. Their departures wiped out a combined 28 years of leadership. Chicago is starting the season without Brian Urlacher for the first time in 14 years. Steven Jackson, who ran for more than 1,000 yards eight times in St. Louis, is now an Atlanta Falcon. And in New England, the Patriots are adjusting to life without Wes Welker, who’s catching passes from Peyton Manning now instead of Tom Brady.

Huff would never say if his heart sank the moment he hoisted that silver and black jersey. In the NFL, you’re taught that parity means there’s always hope. But the kid who’d just won a national championship at Texas went 2 14 that rookie season. And in seven years, he’d have five head coaches, 76 losses and numerous position changes. Huff soldiered along, switching to cornerback when injuries nike air max uk hit the Raiders hard, believing that every year would be different.In March, the Raiders cut him in a salary cap move, giving Huff a chance at a new beginning. On the flight to Baltimore, it hit him as he was listening to his headphones. “I’m getting ready to sign with the defending Super Bowl champs,” he said to himself.”I’m 30, so in NFL terms, you’re getting up there. So this is my chance to win a Super Bowl.”Shortly after he signed, he texted Reed. He told him that he’d do his best to uphold his legacy. That won’t be easy. Reed has been to nine Pro Bowls, is a former defensive player of the year and shared leadership duties with Lewis, albeit in a much quieter way.Reed told him to be himself. Huff is a younger and faster than Reed, and he trains with former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson in the offseason. But he has miles to go before he can even consider any comparisons to the future Hall of Famer.Huff has been in somewhat of a similar situation before. His rookie season, he replaced Charles Woodson. He knows the expectations are so much different now. He feels them every day, and it inspires him.”I love it,” he said. “His pictures are still on the wall up here, all of the plays he made when he was MVP. Every day, you see air max 1 womens it, and you’re hungry. I want to get my picture next to his.”Jackson had more of a discerning eye for shoes. When he left for the Falcons back in March, Rams staffers cleaned out his two lockers and found more than 40 pairs of cleats and tennis shoes. They shipped each pair to Atlanta, knowing he probably wouldn’t wear most of them because they’re all are blue and gold. But maybe it’s a reminder for Jackson of where he’s been.

Without Smith, the Jaguars allowed an average of 5.7 yards per play.No, he’s not Ray Lewis. He’s a quiet man with an ordinary name. The most animated Smith gets, generally, is when he flexes his muscles after a big play. He does not give fiery speeches. He is not like an Uncle to his teammates.For years, the Jaguars called him “Buck,” though a couple of people in the organization, when pressed, didn’t exactly know why.”He’s not going to do a pregame dance, either,” Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “When it comes to that grand personality that Ray Lewis had that’s not what Daryl is all about.”That’s fine with the Ravens. They’ll have Suggs and Flacco. They’ll call Lewis if they ever need some extra inspiration. Maybe they won’t need to call him at all.”Change is inevitable,” Stover said. “It’s a changing league. The air max 1 mens uk issue is that Ray didn’t leave the team in shambles.”

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