Kevin Smith is expected to start at running back Sunday, his first opening-day start since 2009.

“I just feel blessed,” he said, reflecting back on where he was at this time last year. “I was just home being a family man,” he said, smiling. “I was just being a regular model citizen.”

He was a restricted free agent last year and the Lions didn’t offer him a tender; nor did any other team offer a contract until the Lions finally brought him during the bye week. Needless to say, being out of the game made him realize how much he cherished it.

“It did, it really changed my outlook,” Smith said. “There was a point in my career where on the day of the final cuts, I didn’t have no questions or no reason to worry about it. Now, I can say thank you when someone congratulates me on making the 53-man roster. I will never take that for granted again.”

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