His comeback story coincided with quarterback Kordell Stewart, as expected,
being cut following starter Kyle Boller's recovery from a toe injury. Stewart,
33, rushed for 30 yards on three carries in a 21-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, but didn't throw a pass for Baltimore in two seasons.
Smith's recovery comes nearly one year after he shattered his leg against the Dallas Cowboys on safety Roy Williams' "horse-collar" tackle that has since been outlawed. Prior to having a steel rod inserted in a leg that nearly incurred a compound fracture, Smith was told by doctors that he might never play again.
"When I was on the operating table right before surgery, they said I had a 50-percent chance of coming back," Smith said. "That definitely hit me hard, and I did some things [financially] this offseason to prepare myself for life after football."
A third-round pick out of Georgia in 2003, Smith is one of the Ravens' top special-teams performers and may see action Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"He's a huge addition for us, particularly on special teams," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "To have depth at running back is pivotal, so it's a great pickup for us in that regard."
Smith began practicing three weeks ago and was initially uncertain if his leg could withstand the stress and pounding.
"I was shocked to see how I felt, how I was cutting, my speed and my explosiveness," said Smith, who has 79 rushing yards and one score in 20 career games. "The confidence just built from there."
Smith said he isn't afraid of breaking his leg again, especially not with the extra armor.
"It has been a hard road," Smith said. "I am not worried about my leg ever breaking again, because I have a steel rod in there and it won't break. It's stronger than it was, so I'm not scared."
TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens have an extensive injury report and have already ruled out linebacker Ray Lewis (thigh) and safety Ed Reed (high-ankle sprain).
Plus, nickel back Dale Carter (thigh), linebacker Terrell Suggs (thigh), safety B.J. Ward (groin) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (neck) are listed as questionable and missed a portion of team drills. Fullback Ovie Mughelli (ankle) is probable, but rookie Justin Green will start.
Jaguars running back Fred Taylor is doubtful with an ankle injury.
EMERGENCY QUARTERBACK: With Stewart gone and quarterback Brian St. Pierre staying on the practice squad, wide receiver Randy Hymes will be the emergency quarterback. Wide receiver Mark Clayton is another possibility under center for option plays.
ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens signed defensive back Robb Butler (Robert Morris) to the practice squad and waived linebacker Ivory McCoy from the practice squad.
QUICK HITS: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown, 34, is aware that his window for playing in the NFL and trying to win a Super Bowl is closing. "It's like a woman trying to have a baby, my clock's ticking," Brown said. "My clock's ticking to get a ring." ... Running back Jamal Lewis said he won't change his outspoken style. "Things get taken the way they get taken and basically I don't care," Lewis said. "I say what I say. I do what I do. I don't bite my tongue. What I say I mean and that's it. I'm going to be me and I'm going to keep it real."
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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