After 12 years of life in the NFL, Hunter Smith was ready for his next challenge.
The days of booming footballs were behind him and next up was the thrill of performing music in front of thousands of people.
“I looked around at the rest of the NFL and I saw people were having a really hard time making that transition from football to normal life and I knew that the reason for that difficulty was they didn’t have anything else going on,” Smith said last week on “The Ride with JMV”.
“I just decided that I’m going to say, “This is the line. I’ve crossed it. I’m done and it’s time to move on with life.”
Smith spent 10 of his 12 NFL seasons as the punter for the Indianapolis Colts and has returned to the state where he went to college to further pursue a career in the music industry.
The Hunter Smith Band is continuing to grow and opened up for Rascal Flatts at Klipsch Music Center over the weekend.
Over the next three months, the band will perform at seven different venues across the state (Schedule Here).
Following the 2010 season with the Redskins, Smith sat down with his family and realized the joy of playing in the NFL had diminished.
The decision was not easy, but he felt the time was then to hang up the cleats and pick up the guitar.
“My experience is most NFL players leave the NFL game, lonely, injured or cut. There are very few Ray Lewis’ in the world. As a result most people leave the game not on their terms,” Smith said.
“I just knew with young children, I didn’t want to go play a year there, a year here, and do that whole thing. I knew it was time to put aside possibly any desire I had to play the game, which had dwindled and move forward with life in a different direction.”
That direction has led him to playing in Iowa (at Dallas Clark’s charity golf outing) and Louisville (at the Colts Fan Fest).
The trips around the Midwest, and even one to Texas, are one thing with the Hunter Smith Band but nothing compares to being permanently back in Indiana.
Smith recalls a story that former Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh told him several years ago on calling Indiana home.
“Jim Harbaugh told me, “Indianapolis is the Land of Milk and Honey. If I could ever go back, I will because I love the people there.”
“My wife and I have found that to be true,” Smith said. “I’ve never forgotten that he said that. It’s resonated through the years and as the result we plan on living and dying here.”
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