NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans defensive tackle Shaun Smith surprised students and faculty at Jere Baxter Middle School on Tuesday (9/27) for another week of the Titans Tuesdays school program.
Smith was the guest of honor at a special school-wide assembly to encourage the youth and share his personal story. The school was chosen to participate in the Titans PLAY 60 Challenge and Smith was on hand to speak about the program.
Jere Baxter students will participate in the Titans PLAY 60 Challenge to become more physically active and will receive various prizes at the end of the challenge. Smith also stressed the importance of leading an active lifestyle which includes a healthy diet that includes low-fat, high fiber foods, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains as well as encouraging the students to get at least 60 minutes of active play per day.
Smith told the students that he wouldn't be the player he is today if he hadn't stayed in school and involved in sports. During the assembly he also talked about the importance of staying focused during the week, making homework a priority before outside activities and staying positive.
"I've had people tell me negative things all my life, but that just made me use those comments as motivation to do better," said Smith. "I grew up the in the Brooklyn, NY and I know a lot of guys that could have done something with their lives, but they went down the wrong path."
Smith also spoke to the crowd about his journey to the NFL and told the students that he started playing sports at a young age, which he credits to keeping him off the streets. After the assembly, select students were chosen by the school for their leadership, grades and behavior to be PLAY 60 Ambassadors and spend additional time with Smith for a meet and greet opportunity. The students were able to ask questions and were given an autographed poster and PLAY 60 materials. The school's administrators said the students greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet Smith and be recognized as school leaders and appreciated the encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle.