Buccaneer Donovan Smith: Durable and dependable, and now protecting Tom Brady

Donovan Smith has missed one start in five years as the Buccaneers’ left tackle. Seventy-nine games out of 80 possible, Number 76 has come out of the tunnel with the Bucs’ starters. 

That track record has the team entrusting Smith with protecting the blind side of its most valuable asset: quarterback Tom Brady.

Smith has been impressed with the strength of Brady's arm, and his voice.

“I told him he's got great projection of his voice," Smith said. "To go from a soft-spoken-type dude to lighting it up." 

Before camp convened this year, Smith expressed his concern over playing during the pandemic. After the NFL put in safety measures, and the Bucs made a hotel available if a player wanted to sequester, Smith was all in.

PREVIOUS: Buccaneers' Donovan Smith raises concerns about playing 2020 season: 'I’m not a lab rat'

"With the daily testing and everything and having those results, you know, for me it boiled down to having the ability to go a different place from my lady and my child, if anything was to happen, so that was the deciding factor there."

Donovan Smith now prepares to play in his sixth season opener. The Bucs travel to New Orleans for a September 13 engagement with the Saints. 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium will devoid of fans, but the team will fill the void with crowd noise. 

"You already know," Smith says, "These teams are going to sit there and pump as loud...as much music and crowd noise as they can to make the advantage for them."

The Bucs have the added advantage of now having the greatest quarterback to ever play, and having Donovan Smith beside him, to keep him healthy.
Training camp continues Monday in Tampa. Due to the pandemic, practices remain closed to the public.