KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Retired wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. took a shot as the K Ball Specialist for the Kansas City Chiefs in his quest to find the most interesting jobs in the NFL.
After 16 years in the NFL, Smith joined the NFL Network as an NFL analyst and in 2022, began a series of going to each franchise and finding unique jobs that many have not heard and giving a behind-the-scenes look.
In the fourth episode of NFL’s Most Interesting Jobs, Smith joined the Chiefs’ equipment crew to prepare game balls for the kickers and punters.
Smith met with Equipment Manager Allen Wright, Assistant Equipment Manage Chris “Shrop” Shropshire and kicking specialists Harrison Butker and Tommy Townsend to learn what goes into getting the balls game ready.
Shrop shows Smith how to wipe, scrape, and brush each ball to Townsend’s and Butker’s liking. He also broke down the limited time equipment manager’s have to prepare each ball.
Before each game, a representative from the home team and away team meet with the referees who turn on the data chips in each ball and the teams alternate through the six balls they will use.
Smith took what he learned and took it to the GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium sideline during a preseason game.
He interacted with referees unlike he has in the past and executed his hip-toss flawlessly to and from the ref.
So far, Smith has visited the Minnesota Vikings chef and nutritionist, the New York Giant’s coaching staff, the Los Angeles Rams equipment room and the Buffalo Bills strength and condition staff.