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Jonnu Talks 'Hard Knocks,' Tua, His Role, and More

Smith is exciting about the chance to win a championship in the city where he played his college football

Jonnu Smith is excited to be continuing his NFL career in the city where he played his college football, but he says it's the idea of competing for a championship that was the primary factor in his decision to sign with the Miami Dolphins.

A little push from the Dolphins' appearance on "Hard Knocks" during the 2023 season didn't hurt, either.

Smith revealed that during a Zoom media session with Dolphins writers Wednesday when asked about the idea of head coach Mike McDaniel and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in his decision-making process.

"I guess I gotta get at the Hard Knock," Smith said. "Man, Hard Knocks told me a lot. Hard Knocks was a big help in helping me make my decision. ... I just actually watched it this offseason. I actually was late watching it, but it was the offseason, so I was like, You know what, I'm gonna kick back and see what these guys are about. Cut it on and kind of just caught myself binge watching. I'm like man, so, that'd be a special group to be a part of.

"All of these guys man, from Mike McDaniel, (GM) Chris Grier, everybody in his building in the front office collectively made it happen and obviously everything happened on our end as well. So, this is home for me. At the end of the day, that also was a huge factor in me being here. And I'm just excited to be able to play for a city in which I live, which my family lives and be able to represent the city of Miami once again."

Smith, though, started with the idea of competing for a Super Bowl, something he never had a chance to do during his time with the Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots or Atlanta Falcons, though he got to the AFC Championship Game with Tennessee during the 2019 season.

Smith clearly sees the Dolphins as a team with a legitimate chance to go all the way.

"That list is endless," Smith said about his reasons for signing with Miami. "I guess I'll start with an opportunity to go and win a world championship. Adding me to this offense and to the system and to this team ultimately, that could be a solution and to helping us now get to where we want to go. There's obviously still still a lot of work that needs to be put in. Obviously, still still a lot in front of us. But I just saw that vision, and I thought it was a great opportunity."


On where he can help the Dolphins:

"I've been playing this game a long time. You can pull up film of me making plays from anywhere on the field. As a pass catcher in this league, in order for you to be one of the top guys man in whatever your respective position is, you gotta be able to make plays from anywhere in the field. That's something that I pride myself on and making sure that I'm an every-down player, you know what I mean? And you can use me in any situation."

On whether he's met Tua and what he thinks of his game:

"I haven't had opportunity to meet him face to face yet. But I'm sure (there'll be) a lot of time we'll be spending together. But just looking at Tua on paper, he's got it, you know what I mean? I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in this league. I think he's one of, if not the most accurate quarterback in this league. And that's just from me watching from the outside and now that I'm actually here, I'm sure I'll get to see that firsthand. He's a great player, a great leader, had a lot of respect for his game since he played at Alabama. And just seeing him play he was always a fun guy to watch play. And I'm excited to be catching passes from him now."

On teaming up with wide receivers with the kind of speed that Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle possess:

"Man, I'm smiling from ear to ear. That's gonna create a lot of space . Those two speed guys, some of the fastest guys in NFL, if not the fastest, that's just going to cause so much havoc to the defense. And to be able to use those guys to my advantage, those guys are going to be able to open up space and likewise me as well. Just add another pass-catching element to his offense and being able to get those guys open more, we are going to make each other better, all going to play off each other and ultimately I'm sure those guys are team guys, I'm a the team guy, I think it'll just be a great fit. I'm excited and looking forward to it."

On being back in Miami after playing collegiately at Florida International University and whether's that special to him:

"Oh, man, yes, literally right up the road, man. I remember stepping on campus at 17 years old not knowing nothing and kind of growing into my own, growing into a man during my four years at FIU. Obviously it was a special place in my heart always because just the friendships that were built, the relationships from my teammates to coaches, staff. Some of those guys are still around. College, those four years are arguably the most memorable four years of anyone's life. So for me to have the opportunity to come back and literally look you go a little farther south and that's where I used to lay my head at night before practice in the morning before class in the morning. There's definitely some emotional ties there. Always."