Former Green Bay Packers pass rusher Za’Darius Smith has posted a goodbye to Minnesota Vikings fans on Twitter.
#Vikings Pro Bowl pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith informed the team that he wants to be released, I’m told. The team has no plans to do that. The situation remains unresolved. https://t.co/1jWfnK36w4
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2023
Smith’s Messy Ending With the Green Bay Packers
After missing almost the entire 2021 season, Za’Darius Smith was released by the Packers. On his way out Smith had some things to say about how the organization treated him.
“I played one year of high school football,” Smith told Dunne. “For me to be where I’m at today, that’s how you know I love the game. I put my all into it. That’s why I felt the way I did with Green Bay — I gave that (expletive) my all. I put my blood, sweat … I put my back on the (expletive) line. I put everything. And that Year 3, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.”
-Za’Darius Smith to Tom Silverstein
Smith said he signed in Minnesota to play the Packers twice a year and has reportedly requested a release after just one season. Smith started 16 games in 2022 and recorded 10.0 sacks. If he is granted a release he will be able to cash in during free agency, coming off of a double-digit sack season.
Why is Smith Trying to Leave the Vikings
It is currently unclear why Smith would want to leave the Vikings. When he was cut from the Green Bay Packers the writing was already on the wall. He had missed the entire regular season, Rashan Gary had become a starting-caliber talent and Smith was upset after not being voted a team captain.
His sudden want to leave Minnesota could stem from many reasons. Maybe something within the organization has changed. Perhaps Minnesota’s release of key veterans leads Smith to believe they are not poised for a Super Bowl berth. Whatever the reason may be, Smith has clearly decided he wants to play elsewhere.
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