Packers player says he cried after signing a $66 million contract, then went to his mom's job and asked if she was ready to retire


Za'Darius Smith was one of the big winners of the NFL offseason.

The 26-year-old linebacker signed one of the biggest deals of NFL free agency this season, a four-year, $66 million contract with the Green Bay Packers, with $20 million guaranteed.

Smith was on NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's podcast, "RapSheet and Friends," and discussed the process of free agency negotiations, including the immediate aftermath of signing a big deal.

On the first day of free agency, Smith's agent informed him that he was closing in on a deal with the Packers, but would get back to him with the final numbers. Smith said seven hours passed after that phone call, and he worried the deal had fallen through. Eventually, his agent got back to him around midnight and informed him of the agreement.

"He told me the price, man, and I broke down and started crying," Smith said.

Smith said he was at his mom's house for the phone call, but told his mom he wouldn't tell her the final price yet.

"I think the news came out after the day after the first day [of free agency]," Smith said. "I actually went to my mom's job, and I kid you not, I asked her, I was saying, 'Ma, are you ready to retire?'"

Smith said his mother's bags were already packed.

Smith told Rapoport that his mother is a correctional officer. When he was younger, his mom took him to the jail to see people he knew behind bars, which he credits with changing his life and keeping him out of trouble.

He called it a "blessing" to be able to help his mom retire and let her "kick her feet up" at home.