"(We had) an eye toward a lot of things we were talking about with the second half of the season," said Schwartz. "You need to be prepared for a lot of different situations that come up and, honestly in his case, we hadn’t really planned on signing anybody."
But Detroit did end up signing two players: veteran guard
"Kevin looked so good," said Schwartz. "Ran well, moved well; (he) was in great shape. (He's) been a productive player for us when he's been on the field and I think one of the silver linings in this was (the time off) gave his body time to heal."
Smith had been training since he was placed on the Reserve/Injured list 11 weeks into last season, but his ability to catch on with another team once Detroit opted not to tender him was delayed due to the NFL lockout.
Now, he considers himself to be in the best shape of his career.
"I feel like I came out of the body shop brand new," he said. "Obviously I've been playing football for a long time and had two seasons where I got injured and got put on I/R.
"I feel great and God's blessed me with a second opportunity."
Timing is everything.
Not only has Smith had the opportunity to better himself physically, he is walking into an ideal situation.
"To be able to join the Lions at 6-2, come in halfway through the season ... I'm like the freshest guy in the NFL."