This Week in Taco Bell is For the Win’s roundup of Taco Bell news and the internet’s foremost source of aggregated Taco Bell content.
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Fresh off a stellar 16-season NFL career, retired receiver Steve Smith Sr. Picked up some hours at an old job before beginning his new role as an analyst for NFL Network’s GameDay Morning. The five-time Pro Bowler worked at Taco Bell during his high school and junior college years in the Los Angeles area, and returned behind the counter to serve Chalupas and work the drive-thru at a Taco Bell location in Charlotte.
“The drive-thru at rush hour is really just like a two-minute drill,” Smith told For The Win by phone this week. “You’re going to make some mistakes. You’re going to mis-hear the order, or mis-hear the play, and you’ve just got to shake it off, man. You’ve got to get to the next customer or get to the next play.”.
Those experiences, Smith said, prepare him for a fast-paced on-air role that may come with some mispronounced names and misstated details: “You keep chugging along,” he said.
During his playing career, Smith would drive past the Taco Bell where he worked whenever he was back in L.A. As a reminder of his roots. As an employee, Smith said, his manager might have called him “a handful.”.
“Everything you’d expect out of a teenager,” he explained. “Cute girl comes to the drive-thru – we had a few celebrities come to the drive-thru – you get easily distracted.”.
(Photo by Jason E. Miczek / AP Images for the NFL).
Once, while Smith was working the drive-thru headset, a woman ordered some Taco Bell and pulled up to the window to reveal that a boxing legend was riding shotgun.
“I remember it like yesterday: Sugar Ray Leonard came to the drive-thru,” Smith said. “I was in awe, because she ordered, but then when he pulled up, it was like, ‘Hey, that’s Sugar Ray Leonard!'”.
Smith favors bean burritos with no onions, but tested the limits of the menu while working at Taco Bell.
“Oh absolutely,” he said when asked if he experimented with Taco Bell stuff. “Taco Salad, Mexican Pizza, Chicken and Steak Quesadilla – you just add things on to the menu that, as a customer, you wouldn’t pay for because it’d cost too much. Nachos BellGrande, double meat, that’s about a $7 Nacho BellGrande, you know?”.
A two-time All-Pro, Smith said that concerns about nutrition during his playing career forced him to limit his Taco Bell intake but he did sometimes indulge.
“That’s the thing about Taco Bell,” he said. “It’s open late night, with the drive-thru. Everybody gets that midnight craving.”.
Smith’s new hours for NFL GameDay Morning may not allow for many late-night Taco Bell trips, as the show starts at 7 a.M. ET on Sundays. But he said he’s enjoying the adjustment to the new role and the perspective it offers his kids.
“At night I’m doing homework just as they’re doing homework,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opener for my kids to see me on my laptop, looking up statistics, going on websites looking up guy’s information. Dad used to just be chilling, and working out. Now I’m writing on notepads and things like that.”.