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Smith Knows Turnarounds Too

November 17, 1997|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — The New York Jets are enjoying this worst-to-first season. Horrible one year, atop their division the next.

It's pretty much the same with cornerback Otis Smith.

One week he is being beaten for touchdowns and being picked on by Dan Marino. The next week he is doing the picking, making two of New York's four interceptions in a 23-15 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"We've got five games left. Redemption for one game? I'm not going to put myself in that position," Smith said after helping the Jets (7-4) beat the woeful Bears to stay atop the AFC East.

"That's the nature of this business, of life. If you're not playing well or have a bad game people seem to want to get rid of you. But it really didn't concern me."

Smith nearly lost his job after his performance at Miami last week, not learning until Friday he would start. He returned an interception of backup Steve Stenstrom's pass 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Jets a 23-0 halftime lead.

In fact, the Bears (1-10) were as miserable as the weather at Soldier Field--a minus-5 wind-chill factor--in the first half. They had four passes intercepted, a fumble, an 18-yard punt and missed field goal.

The Bears, who attempted a team-record 65 passes, also heard the boos throughout the game from bundled-up crowd. There were 21,301 no-shows in the 66,944-seat stadium.

The only negative in a dominant first half for the Jets was the loss of starting quarterback Glenn Foley, who suffered a knee injury after being sack. The extent of the injury was not immediately known.

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