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Smith Looking Forward to Facing Former Team

This summer, the Cowboy continued his journey west.



Antonio "The Ninja Assassin" Smith comes out of tunnel in Houston. AP Photo

After five seasons in Houston, Antonio Smith signed in Oakland this offseason in an attempt to revitalize the Raiders defense in 2014.

Now, six months to the day after he signed with the Raiders, Smith will don the Silver and Black to take on his former team.

"I'm excited," said Smith, when talking about taking on the Texans. "It's going to be fun to get to see my brothers again and teach them a little bit more about this game. I think it's going to be a fun game to get out there and mix it up, especially for the first home game."

During his time in Houston, the man with an affinity for nicknames found a lot of individual success, as he was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2012 and tallied 27 sacks during his time as a Texan.

Additionally, the team was also successful, winning back-to-back division titles in 2011 and 2012.

When the Oklahoma City, Okla.-native takes the field at Coliseum on Sunday, he will do so with the support of Raider Nation behind him, but with no hard feelings toward his former team.



Antonio Smith gets after Jets QB Geno Smith. Photo by Tony Gonzales

"I'm going to be amped up because it's my boys I'm playing against but it's still just another game," he said. "I had good years in Houston, there's nothing bad or any type of hard feelings I had when I left Houston. I'm just going to go out there and have fun playing this game I love to play."

While Smith is determined to approach Sunday's game just like any other, he did admit that it's hard not to think about what it will be like to square off against his former teammates in a meaningful match-up.

"You always wonder about that when you're in practice with your teammates; what it would be like to go against them in a real game," he said. "You build up that 'what if' factor, and now you get to answer those questions."

A new football home means that adjustments must be made, and Smith is no exception to that rule. However, the biggest difference the Oklahoma State product has noticed since he arrived in the Bay Area isn't on the field.

"The biggest difference that I have noticed is that it's cold. Not really cold, it just gets chilly every night up here, when it's very hot in Houston," he said.

Smith also joked that the good weather in Northern California could add some years to his NFL career.

"It [the weather] might put a good six more years on Tone's legs," he said with a chuckle. "You never know, I might play this game for 50 years if I stay out here in Cali."

An additional six years of Antonio Smith would give Raider Nation a reason to smile and keep opposing offensive coordinators up at night.

The self-proclaimed ninja and the rest of the Raiders open their 2014 home schedule on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. PT against DE J.J. Watt and the Texans at Coliseum.

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