ELF: Helvetic Guards hire long-time NFL cornerback Otis Smith as defensive coordinator

Switzerland’s ELF expansion franchise is adding another high profile name to its already star-studded coaching staff.

The Helvetic Guards have named former NFL cornerback Otis Smith as the team’s defensive coordinator for their inaugural season in 2023.  He joins the staff of head coach and long-time NCAA offensive guru Norm Chow after the pair worked together with the XFL’s Los Angeles Wildcats in 2020.

The native of New Orleans, Louisiana played college football for the University of Missouri but went unselected in the 1990 NFL Draft. He signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent and beat the odds, spending 14 seasons at the professional level with the Eagles, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Detroit Lions.

Smith played in 180 career games and started 108 of them, recording 523 tackles and 29 interceptions. He returned seven of those picks back for touchdowns, which currently places him twelfth all-time in NFL history in an eight-way tie that includes the likes of Hall of Famers Ed Reed, Ty Law, Herb Adderley and Lem Barney.

The five-foot-11, 198-pound defensive back is best remembered for his two stints with the Patriots in 1996 and again from 2000 to 2002. In 1996, Smith’s 47-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship sent the team to their second-ever Super Bowl. He was a critical part of the Pats winning their first title five years later, picking off Kurt Warner in the third quarter to help set up a field goal.

“When I think about Otis Smith, a few things come to mind immediately: his incredible work ethic, the respect he earned as a result of the leadership he brought to the team and his production in some of our biggest games,” legendary Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was quoted as saying upon the defenders’ retirement.

Smith joined the NFL coaching ranks in 2008 as an assistant secondary coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and would later serve as defensive quality control coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010. After a ten-year hiatus from professional coaching, he joined the Wildcats as defensive backs coach in 2020.

The 56-year-old’s hiring by the Guards marks his first defensive coordinator job.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.