It will be hard for anyone to question Shelley Smith's commitment to football after the sacrifices the 26-year-old made to sign with the Miami Dolphins.

Smith, who had been mainly a reserve offensive lineman in Houston and St. Louis the past few years, knew that he could have the opportunity to start in Miami. And so when the Dolphins offered him a two-year, $5.5 million contract, he jumped at the chance.

Unfortunately for Smith and his fiancee, Ashley, the deal went down during their wedding weekend. As Smith told reporters, he had to be absent at some inopportune times.

"It was an absolute whirlwind,” Smith said. "Me and my wife didn't expect things to quite work out that way. I ended up missing my rehearsal dinner, I missed some different wedding events. But at the end of the day, it all worked out great. I made it back for my wedding day, I made the wife happy, and I got to sign with the Dolphins."

Smith, who has only started seven games in his career, comes into an offensive line that had four holes at the beginning of free agency. He was graded by Pro Football Focus as one of the best run-blocking guards in the league, and seeing as the Dolphins just signed Knowshon Moreno, it would appear that Miami has big plans for Smith.

Plus, if his wife is happy, that's all that really matters, right?

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After winning the Super Bowl, some of the Seahawks' players have gone about fulfilling their other dreams.

Russell Wilson went to Spring Training with the Texas Rangers. Marshawn Lynch got a jersey made out of Skittles. And now Michael Robinson is appearing on his favorite soap opera, "The Young and the Restless."

The 31-year-old fullback told “NFL Total Access” during the playoffs that watching the soap opera was his guilty pleasure, and as soon as the show's producers heard that, they invited Robinson to make a cameo on the popular program. Robinson taped the bit a few weeks ago and it aired on Thursday. He got to film a scene with one of the show's longtime stars, Eric Braeden.


Robinson said before the taping, he and Braeden became fast friends.

“We actually sat and chatted for about two hours before the scene," Robinson told the SoapOperaNetwork, "And we just talked football, talked working out, talked about how excited he is about what happened in the Super Bowl. He was very much intrigued about how we work and how we go about the business… and what it takes to play this game."

As for how the former Penn State quarterback became hooked on the show, well, that's a rather interesting story.

“When my mom and dad were getting divorced and I was a young guy, about five or six years old, I remember going to my babysitter’s house,” Robinson said in an interview on the NFL Network. “In Richmond, Virginia, Y&R came on after Divorce Court. I remember watching Divorce Court expecting to see my mom and dad. I didn’t get a chance to see them so I just sat around and watched Young and the Restless.”

To hear more about Robinson's experience, check out this interview he did with some of the cast members.

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For Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn, Sunday's Academy Awards were just the first of his red carpet experiences this week.

After Dunn, who invested in the film Dallas Buyers Club and had a small cameo, returned to Spring Training from his trip to the Oscars, he found his locker had been decked out with a red carpet and Oscar statuettes.


Dunn, a 14-year veteran, was initially unsure of whether he wanted to attend the Oscars because it would mean missing two days of Spring Training. But upon returning to Glendale, Ariz., after Dallas Buyers Club won three Academy Awards, Dunn said the trip was worth it.

"It’s kind of like anything else, when it's over you don't feel as bad,” Dunn told the Chicago Tribune. “When you come back, it never feels as bad as when you have to leave. Obviously, everybody here has made it really easy, and it was just fine. It was a cool experience, and now it’s over until next year.”

Dunn was back in the White Sox lineup as Chicago's designated hitter for Tuesday's game against the Cleveland Indians.

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Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo comes from a family of soccer players, and in a recent appearance at an indoor soccer game the 19-year-old showed that his "football" skills aren't too shabby.

Antetokounmpo, whose grandfather, father and older brother all played soccer, was invited onto the pitch during a Milwaukee Wave game.

The Greek Freak first showed off his juggling skills, which are pretty good for someone who is 6-foot-9 and plays professional basketball. Then he was asked to make a shot from midfield through one of three small holes. It took a few attempts, but Antetokounmpo finally nails it at the 2:00 mark of the video below.

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Antetokounmpo's goal won a scooter for one lucky fan.

This awesome goal continues Antetokounmpo's happy-go-lucky rookie season. When he's not tweeting about his favorite new American food, Antetokounmpo is averaging 4.6 rebounds and 7.2 points for the hapless Bucks.

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Kobe Bryant has taken his love of piano to a whole new level.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar, who has been sidelined for most of the 2013-2014 season with injuries, has dropped hints before about his love for piano. He's said sitting down at the keyboard and playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" has helped him relieve stress.

Bryant's had no shortage of stress this year -- he came back from a torn Achilles only to fracture his knee, all the while his team has been struggling mightily without him. And in these dark days for Bryant, it seems like the 35-year-old may be getting some help in the form of music.

Bryant recently unveiled a new piano shaped like his logo and with the words "Kobe Piano" inscribed on the front.


For comparison, here's what Bryant's emblem looks like:


Bryant's actually a pretty skilled pianist. Here's a short clip of him playing "Moonlight Sonata."

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Matt Elam is nothing if not enterprising.

The Baltimore Ravens' 2013 first-round pick, who negotiated his own rookie contract without an agent, wanted to boost his retail knowledge in hopes of one day opening a sports merchandise store.

So the 22-year-old safety, who made $405,000 in 2013, found a part-time job during the offseason at a Finish Line store in Gainesville, Fla.

It's not entirely unheard of for NFL players to find offseason employment, but Elam is a starter with lots of upside.

“I just need to get retail knowledge,” Elam told BaltimoreRavens.com. "That's basically what I'm doing. I'm getting that knowledge for when it's time.”

Elam is a part-time sales associate, working 20 hours a week while also completing his degree in anthropology at Florida. He says his time at Finish Line has reinforced his desire to some day open his own sporting goods store.

"I know you can't do football forever. I'm going to use it to benefit me when I'm doing so that my kids won't have to worry about this,” Elam said. "I take a lot of pride in that because I feel like a lot of kids are blind to this, and don’t have these opportunities, and don’t have the knowledge. I hope I can open a lot of their eyes."

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In December 2006, England's Fulham F.C. offered MLS a $4 million transfer payment for then-23-year-old Clint Dempsey. The transfer was the largest ever offered for an MLS player.

At 23, Dempsey was tossed a paycheck and sent overseas. In a sport facing constant barriers in his home country, Dempsey got the chance to study abroad.

Now a month from his 31st birthday, Dempsey has backed up every bit of the hype.

In six-plus seasons in the Premier League with Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, Dempsey accumulated 57 EPL goals, a record for an American. He finished fourth in the voting for Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association in 2011-12. He is second on the all-time U.S. National Team goal scoring list with 36 tallies in 101 caps. He is a three-time Honda Player of the Year Award winner as best American player.

Last summer, Dempsey decided it was time to come home. For six and a half years, he walked the walk. He blazed a path for fellow Americans in Europe. He proved Americans can hold their ground with the best in the world.

Perhaps not coincidentally, back in the U.S., soccer boomed. European soccer is a fixture of American television and MLS business is improving. Support for the U.S. National Team is respectable.

Dempsey, who signed a four-year contract worth more than $5 million with the Seattle Sounders in August, is embracing the new MLS.

"There's a demand for homegrown players to be in the MLS. It shows the ambition the league has to try to get some of the best players they can and get players while they still are in their prime and have a lot of good years left," Dempsey tells ThePostGame. "The league is definitely growing and definitely improving. You're seeing more fans attending games, you're seeing more soccer stadiums being built, you're also seeing more franchises pop up."

With Landon Donovan in the league since 2005 and Michael Bradley signing an MLS contract with Toronto F.C. last month, three of the United States' most recognizable faces are playing in North America. On the eve of the World Cup, this can give American soccer fans a reason to smile. Players like Dempsey do not need to travel a cross the Atlantic Ocean to play at a high level.

The improved state of MLS was not the only factor reeling the Texan back to his home country. Although Dempsey still had one year guaranteed at Tottenham in the world's most historic league, home is where the heart is.

"Having a family, having kids, I want to be able to be closer to home and find that balance of following my dream and also being with my family," Dempsey says. "I'm happy to be back in the states in MLS, the league that gave me a chance to go pro in the first place, so I owe a lot to it. And playing in Seattle in front of 45,000 fans a game, it's a great experience and something I always wanted to do anyway. "

In three months back in MLS, Dempsey did not exactly blow the roof off the competition. He battled injuries and scored one goal in nine league games (one goal in 12 overall games). The Sounders were bounced in the first game of the knockout round and lingering calf injury kept Dempsey out of national friendlies shortly after the loss.

While still under contract in Seattle, Dempsey knew there was one place he could re-discover his groove: England.

"I had the summer off. That's when you have your break," he says. "But I went back to MLS with not many games left and had some injuries and some time off from that. I needed to keep pushing. I felt like I had too much time off and needed to keep my body on track."

On Christmas Eve, Dempsey re-signed with Fulham on a two-month loan. His future is set on a career in the United States, but for a period of time, Dempsey felt he could use some action at his old stomping grounds.

However, even returning to familiar Craven Cottage has not fully lifted Dempsey out of his funk. He has no goals in six appearances, including four league games. To make matters worst, Fulham is dead last in the EPL table with 19 points.

"It's been difficult. It's not ideal how things have gone," Dempsey says. "The way the team has been performing, we've been on a run of bad results. Hopefully, we can turn that around with the month left that I have here on loan."

If it is any consolation for American soccer fans, Dempsey is improving his health with just four months before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil. After all, Dempsey will not see Fulham through for the entire season. He will only contribute to their results for a few more weeks.

"For me, the most important thing was coming off of injury," Dempsey says. "I want to try to get back my fitness, to try to get my body right and try to help my team. I'm feeling better, feeling stronger fitness-wise and can be more productive on the field. Hopefully, with the month I have left, I can help pitch in goals and help the team."

In June, Dempsey will play in his third career World Cup, and he scored goals in his first two.

Despite all the league and moral accomplishments of his career, the World Cup brings out the best in Dempsey. It is what he says was "always his dream" when he started playing soccer.

In this particular World Cup, the United States expects to have its hands full. Starting in a group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, the so-called "Group of Death" for this World Cup, Captain Dempsey aims to rally the Yankee troops.

Dempsey was in Kansas City for the MLS Cup when he watched the draw. After all the challenges he faced, he said he cannot let national reputations distress him.

"When I first saw it, I knew it was going to be very difficult, but at the same time I was excited because in the World Cup, you play against the best teams in the world. You don't go there to try to play the easiest ones. If you want to go far in tournament, you have to beat the good ones anyway," Dempsey says.

The Americans open the tournament against Ghana, the nation that has handed the U.S. its last two World Cup losses. Dempsey admits there is a chip on his team's shoulder and it would be nice to defeat the budding rival.

However, the broader goal for American soccer goes beyond one game.

"A benchmark will be advancing out of the group that we're in. It'll show soccer is moving in the right direction," he says.

One challenge the United States and other squads may face is the climate of Brazil. In a country that hugs the Equator, many games will take place in rather extreme heat. In its second game, the U.S. will take on Portugal in Arena de Amazônia in Manous, Amazonas.

Manous in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

Dempsey, who grew up in Texas, says those who have played in the southern portion of the United States are more prepared than other players. With that said, the game will a grind.

"It'll be really humid and hot," he says. "It helps if you figure out how you want to manage the game. You can't go too crazy. You've got to manage the ball and make the most of it because those conditions do take a lot out of you."

In 2010, South Africa featured a winter climate deep in the Southern Hemisphere. The weather will certainly be a difference from one World Cup to another.

A second difference will be the coach of the United States. In 2011, Jürgen Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as manager of the U.S. National Soccer Team. He named Dempsey captain in spring 2013.

Klinsmann has a World Cup title, a European Championships Title and in 2004 he was on the FIFA 100 list of the "125 Greatest Living Footballers."

Dempsey does not take the experienced coach for granted.

"Jürgen played at the highest level. He's one some of the most prestigious trophies in the game," Dempsey says. "Being able to learn from him and how he addresses situation, he really gives us confidence as a national team."

In 2013 Dempsey found another role model, not in an individual, but in a team. After the U.S. qualified for the World Cup, the Seattle Seahawks invited Dempsey and national teammate and then-Sounders teammate Eddie Johnson to a practice. Dempsey says he was most impressed by the team's precision in the red zone during the practice.

Now, with the Seahawks having won the Super Bowl, Dempsey is amused at Seattle's ecstasy. He feels connected to it.

"The fact that they did so well and the city really got behind them, you're happy for the city, you're happy for those players. It was really nice that they accepted us. I've never been a part of a city where the sports really embrace each other," he says.

More importantly, Dempsey has some more inspiration for his own team:

"I'm happy for them, but at the same time, it's something we've got to do. Bring a trophy back to the city."

In the next few months, Clint Dempsey has a lot on his plate. He has three teams to play for in three different continents before next year's MLS playoffs. In four months, he will take the pitch on the international stage for the only time in four years.

"You take it one day at a time, one week at a time," he says. "You focus where you are. Right now, I'm at Fulham. I have to focus on helping the team get in the best position on the table. After that, I'll go back to MLS and look forward to helping the Sounders get as high as I can in that league. Then I'll go to the World Cup and focus on getting out of the group. You take it as it comes and keep working."

From his schedule, it is easy to see Clint Dempsey is grinding away. On March 9, he will be a year north of 30 years old, but the drive is still there. Dempsey still has business to finish in the World Cup and in club play. American soccer has taken leaps during his time as one of its stars, but the job is not finished.

Dempsey's next challenge is to strengthen American soccer in the United States while playing in the United States.

He set it up when he left seven and a half years ago. Now, he is embracing the results.

***

Degree Men antiperspirant and deodorant will be sending one lucky fan to Brazil on an all-expense paid trip to cheer on the United States at the World Cup in June. As part of the brand's DO:MORE campaign, Dempsey hosted a live video chat Thursday on DegreeSoccer.com.

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The Texas Rangers are really getting their money's worth for drafting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Rule 5 Draft.

The move shocked many -- Wilson has had a stellar start to his career and appears to have a bright future in football -- but the publicity associated with the Rangers' move may be enough to justify the $12,000 they spent on him.

This week Topps announced it would make a limited edition Russell Wilson Texas Rangers baseball card.

The card will be available beginning April 30.


"Sports fans have always been fascinated by the two-sport star," Topps vice president of product development Clay Luraschi told ESPN. "When you talk to fans about amazing athletes, you always hear the name Bo Jackson come up. And whenever you have an athlete that could potentially be a two-sport star, there's always a lot of buzz about him.

"Will he ever play for the Rangers? We don't know. But we thought we'd make a card to let people know what it would look like if he did."

Wilson, an infielder, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007 but decided instead to attend N.C. State. In 2010 he was selected by the Colorado Rockies. He played Single A ball for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, hitting .229 with five homers, 19 stolen bases and 118 strikeouts.

Here's his card from his brief stint with Colorado's organization:


The honor doesn't mean Wilson is any likelier to play for the Rangers (although some, like Deion Sanders, have suggested he should). Wilson may, however, show up to spring training and speak to the Rangers about being a professional and succeeding at the highest level of sports.

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Feb. 2 is going to be quite memorable for Shawna Cook and her family.

Not only is her favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, playing in the Super Bowl, Cook will be tying the knot to her fiancee just minutes after kickoff.

When Cook realized the conflict, she emailed her husband-to-be because she couldn't handle the look on his face if she told him in person.

Cook told King 5 News that her friends were shocked and her cousins requested a big screen television at the wedding. She assured them that there'll be a 60-inch TV for them to watch the game. The game starts at 3:30 p.m. PT and the ceremony is at 4 p.m.

Of the 70 family members and friends who are invited to the wedding, only one cancelled upon learning of the Super Bowl conflict.

"We are commemorating the most awesome event in our life with the most awesome event in Seattle life," Cook said. "As soon as the ceremony is over, it is going to be Seahawks central for the next hour and a half."

It is also worth noting that her fiance happens to be a 49ers fan, so there would've been a similar situation even if the Seahawks had lost the NFC championship game.

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As frustrated as Kobe Bryant is that he's been sidelined by injuries for the majority of this season, at least the Lakers' superstar is making the most of his predicament.

For the second time in a week, the Black Mamba sat in on a business class at a university in the city where the Lakers were playing. Last week Bryant attended an international marketing class at Boston College, sitting in the class for two hours and even taking notes.

Then on Wednesday, with his team in Miami to play the Heat, Bryant dropped in on a class at the University of Miami's business school.



Bryant never attended college, but he's always been known for his intelligence and business acumen. He reportedly got an 1,100 on his SATs and could have gotten a full ride to any college had he not entered the 1996 NBA draft.

Bryant has established a strong social media presence and remains the most popular NBA player in many countries around the world, specifically China. The combination of his enormous salary ($30.5 million) and his copious endorsements ($34 million) have made him the highest-earning NBA star.

After class Wednesday, Bryant attended the Duke-Miami basketball game, where he was joined by the city's own NBA star.


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