SMITH TO BE DOLPHINS KICK RETURNER
With Ted Ginn Jr. being traded to the San Francisco 49ers back in April, the Dolphins have been searching for a new kick returner. Despite using rookie Nolan Carroll as the kick returner and Davone Bess as the punt returner during the preseason, apparently the team was not committed to either one as the returners. The team on Wednesday signed third year veteran Clifton Smith to become the team's new kick returner. He will likely also assume the punt returner job from Bess. He will also be listed as the team's 5th string running back.
Smith, who played college football for Fresno State, was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his rookie season he averaged 27.6 yards per return on kickoffs and 14.1 yards per return on punts. He also had a 70 yard punt return for a touchdown and a 97 yard kick return for a touchdown in the 2008 season, and his success earned him a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster. In 2009, Smith improved on his kick return average as it climbed to 29.1 yards per return.
Smith does have some red flags, as he has been known to fumble the ball on returns and suffered two concussions last season that caused his season to be cut short. With Tampa Bay having a lot of players that can return kicks and can play other positions, they deemed Smith unnecessary for this season. The Dolphins won't require Smith to do anything other than return kicks, so to acquire a Pro Bowl returner one week before the start of the season, may turn out to be a major steal for the Dolphins.
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