Texas Tech assistant recently turned down chance to go back to the NFL

Texas Tech co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith said Wednesday that newly hired Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine offered him a job as the Browns’ linebackers coach, but Smith declined.

“I think everybody’s thinking I’m out of my mind, but I love Tech,” Smith said. “There is no other place I’d rather be than here. If I was at any other job, I would have gone in a heartbeat.”

That Pettine (pronounced like pettin') would try to land Smith comes as no surprise given the pair’s long history. You might remember that Pettine let Smith live with him rent-free when the two were both on the New York Jets’ staff, Smith as a low-paid intern.

“Mike Pettine’s one of my best friends,” Smith said. “I’ve known him for 10 years. He was my coach when I played for the Ravens and the DC for the Jets. Lived together when we were in New York.

“He’s one of my best friends. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is not to do that, but he understood how much this place means to me and my family’s here.

“He’ll do a great job there. He’ll turn that place around.”

The Browns finished 4-12 last season. They hired the 47-year-old Pettine on Jan. 23.


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