Frugality Key for Running Back

Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- During training camp, B.C. Lions rookies just needed to see Joe Smith if they were feeling homesick and couldn't afford those hefty long-distance phone rates.

Smith, the notoriously frugal Lions star running back, set up his computer to allow teammates to make calls through a product called Magic Jack.

"I don't call it renting," Smith said. "I take donations. If people come in and want to use it, they make a donation. It at least pays for the Internet service.

"My mind is always working towards making extra cash."

All the savings from Smith's ideas paid off handsomely this off-season.

In February, Smith married his sweetheart, Andrea, on a beach in the Cayman Islands. A couple months later, the newlyweds went on a tour of South America that took them through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru.

They also made two jaunts over to Andrea's native Philippines with the money Smith saved by taking public transit, collecting bottles and cans or using a metal detector to find loose change.

Expect that to continue.

"There are places we want to go such as Spain and Italy," Smith said. "I'm sure during this off-season we will make it to some of these places.

"After football, we will have a ton of travelling to do. I got the travel bug young. My wife has the travel bug now, so whenever we see good deals, we jump on them."

Until then, Smith will remain the centrepiece of the Lions' offence.

Behind a solid offensive line that hasn't changed much since the Grey Cup year of 2006, Smith has flourished, leading the CFL last season with 1,510 rushing yards and scoring 19 total touchdowns.

So his goal this year is to get better.

"I have to see what I can do different," Smith said. "If I could lead the league in receiving yards, that would be amazing. That's a joke.

"I just need to do the small things so I can add a twist to my game. There are some things I can do to improve my overall game, such as catching the ball, or getting downfield to block.

"Hopefully I can add something a little extra."


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