Bills WR/QB Smith goes from wildcat to catwalk

Of the many hats jack-of-all-trades specialist Brad Smith wears

playing for the Buffalo Bills, none of them happen to be designed

by Tommy Hilfiger.

That’s about to change.

The Bills receiver, part-time quarterback and kickoff returner

is preparing to expand his already versatile repertoire. Smith is

going to try his hand at journalism and style, working as an intern

for Men’s Health Magazine to assist covering New York Fashion Week,

which opens Thursday.

”I’m excited about the opportunity,” Smith said. ”I’m excited

about meeting new people. It’s kind of an adrenalin rush. It’s not

in your comfort zone. You don’t know anybody, which makes it

exciting.”

And a little daunting, too, for Smith, who is more familiar

running the wildcat formation than he is the catwalk.

”I like to dress up,” he said. ”But at the same time, I’m a

guy who will wear the same stuff for practice for a week – same

sweat pants, practice jersey, whatever – to try to save on

laundry.”

Sweats and T-shirts, Smith understands, won’t fly at an event

considered to be the Big Apple’s Super Bowl of fashion.

And his new boss, Men’s Health fashion director Brian Boye,

isn’t concerned.

”I know he cleans up really well. And I know he’s really

interested in fashion,” Boye said. ”I don’t have any doubt he’s

going to represent himself well, and represent the magazine well

during his time here.”

Boye hired Smith because of the enthusiasm he showed in applying

for the position, and not merely as a public-relations stunt.

Smith isn’t the first professional athlete to land an intern job

at a national publication. Former New York Rangers agitator Sean

Avery spent a month working for Vogue in 2008. At Men’s Health,

Smith follows in the footsteps of Philadelphia 76ers swingman Evan

Turner, who spent a day interning at the magazine in November

Smith’s role, however, will be more hands on and extensive,

lasting for an entire week.

”He’s going to get a crash course in everything relating to

men’s style,” Boye said. ”All of the designers of the shows that

he’s going to are real excited that he’s coming with us. A lot of

them have offered to dress him for shows. So even if he doesn’t get

fashion help in advance, he’s going to get fashion help once he’s

on the ground here.”

Smith’s responsibilities will involve interviewing designers –

including Hilfiger – trying on clothes, attending photo shoots,

providing grooming tips and filing regular reports for the

magazine’s website.

Smith was prompted by a friend to apply for the position because

it fit the player’s off-the-field interests. Smith follows fashion,

has a degree in marketing and is also working on a masters in

economics.

”I love to see how things come together,” Smith said. ”The

biggest thing about fashion is image. And here, I’ll get to see how

it works behind the scenes what particularly designers go through,

how they market things and the whole business behind trying to push

their brand forward.”

Smith, who spent his first five NFL seasons playing for the New

York Jets, recalls attending one fashion show. He took his wife to

a Kimora Lee Simmons show in New York last year before the Bills

opened their season against the Jets.

In rating Bills players on their fashion sense, Smith ranked

receiver Stevie Johnson’s wardrobe as being what he described as

”the most interesting.” Johnson is noted for having an extensive

and colorful wardrobe that ranges from custom-made T-shirts to

plaid suits.

As for the best, classically dressed Bills players, Smith noted

safety George Wilson and running back C.J. Spiller.

Smith rates his own wardrobe as being ”not bad” and expects to

lean on his wife for advice on what to pack for the week.

”I’ll have my sweats with me,” Smith said, with a laugh. ”But

I think I’ll get my wife to help. She always helps me pick out

stuff for games so I won’t look like a complete idiot.”