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Hard lessons prepare Green Bay OL for tough job

Wednesday - 11/14/2012, 7:04pm  ET

NANCY ARMOUR
AP National Writer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Evan Dietrich-Smith hears all the nice things Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy are saying about him and does what he always does.

He gets back to work.

Two years after he was cut by the Packers at the end of training camp and spent most of the season looking for work, Dietrich-Smith has become indispensable in Green Bay. Versatile enough to play any spot on the offensive line, the Packers have so much faith in their main backup that they have no plans to water down the offense for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions despite losing starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the rest of the season with a hip injury.

"I'd hope they'd be saying that," Dietrich-Smith said Wednesday. "... I've got to continue to do what I do, which is just go out, work hard, look at the film and just improve every day. Figure out the things you've got to improve on, how you can improve your game, what can you do to make yourself stick around. Because this game is a vicious game. Nothing is guaranteed around here."

No one knows that better than Dietrich-Smith.

After being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho State in 2009, Dietrich-Smith seemed to carve out a niche for himself with the Packers. He played in 13 games as a rookie, and made an appearance in the NFC wild-card game. Most of his time was spent on special teams, though the coaching staff thought enough of him to use him (albeit briefly) at both guard and center late in the year.

But he didn't even make it out of training camp the next summer, getting waived in the final round of cuts.

"I was kind of going wild and just enjoying being in the NFL and stuff like that," Dietrich-Smith said.

Picked up by Seattle, he was released a month later without getting into a game. For the next 2
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