Smith meets with Redskins

Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith was optimistic about returning this season, after a meeting with owner Dan Snyder and coach Steve Spurrier today. Spurrier said he expects Smith to return.

''Right now, we look forward to him coming back,'' Spurrier said. ''He was productive last year. He had a lot of pressures and hurries.''

Spurrier also said Regan Upshaw is not guaranteed the starting right end job, which belonged to Smith the past three seasons. Whoever plays the best, Spurrier said, will start.

Smith, though, said that's not an issue. After all, he said he hasn't played every down the past three years anyway. And he'd still be asked to rush the passer.

''That doesn't bother me,'' Smith said. ''I know what type of player I am and what I contribute to the club . . . The things I contribute you can't replace.''

He said he'd make a final decision soon, saying there are still some issues that must be resolved. He did not elaborate. But he did say he had ''good conversations'' with Spurrier and Snyder.

Smith, though, will miss playing alongside tackle Daryl Gardener.

''He's one heck of a player,'' Smith said. ''We worked well together and he did things that can't be replaced. I understand we got a blue collar type guy to replace him [Brandon Noble] who's a pretty good player. We'll see what happens. It takes time for players to gell.''

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