COLUMBUS - A haggard Troy Smith's Heisman Trophy was shipped home on Tuesday to avoid any chance of a repeat of what happened the last time an Ohio State player won the award.
Smith, who announced as the 2006 Heisman winner on Saturday night, arrived at Port Columbus International Airport from New York on Tuesday - without the most prestigious individual award in college football.
After Eddie George won the 1995 Heisman, the tip of the right index finger on the bronze statuette was broken and another finger was bent as it passed through an airport X-ray machine in New York.
Smith said it wasn't difficult letting go of the 35-pound bronze award.
“No, because Eddie's finger got bent,” Smith said with a grin. “I don't want that to happen to mine.”
Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp said it was a necessary precaution to have the award sent separately.
“We decided to have it shipped. That's much easier,” Snapp said. “How times have changed. Eddie carried it on the plane and put it in the seat next to him.”
Smith, wearing a black leather jacket with the Heisman insignia on back, was accompanied by his position coach, Joe Daniels, along with fellow team captains Doug Datish, David Patterson and Quinn Pitcock. All had joined him at the Heisman dinner on Monday night.
Daniels said Smith would not have trouble refocusing on the national championship game after winning the award.
“We don't have to worry about getting him back down to earth,” Daniels said. “He's pretty grounded.”