Ravens' Newsome says Troy Smith 'definitely can' still play in NFL

Troy Smith

, the former

Heisman Trophy

-winning quarterback whom the


drafted in the fifth round in 2007, has bounced around the football landscape since Baltimore released him after training camp in 2010.

He started a few games in San Francisco in 2010. He was exiled last year to the

United Football League

, where he backed up former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli as a member of the Omaha Nighthawks. And after the

Pittsburgh Steelers

signed him this offseason but then released him late last month, Smith is a free agent.

Smith, who turns 28 later this month, isn't giving up on his


dreams, though, as detailed


The Cleveland Plain-Dealer

's Bill Lubinger. And among those who still believe that Smith can be successful is the man who drafted him: Ravens general manager

Ozzie Newsome


"Troy definitely can play in the National Football League. I have no doubts about that," Newsome told

The Plain-Dealer

. "He's a playmaker. He can extend the play. He has a real strong arm, and people like to knock him for his height, but he knows how to find throwing lanes in the pocket."

Smith is listed -- perhaps generously -- at 6-feet tall. But his winning pedigree and his ability to make plays outside of the pocket earned him plenty of supporters when he was with the Ravens, making him a polarizing figure in 2008 when he competed with first-round pick

Joe Flacco


Kyle Boller

for the starting quarterback gig. Smith had the edge coming out of training camp


We all know how the story then unfolded with Flacco,

and still has it 64 straight starts later.

Two years later, Smith landed with the


. He started six games, winning three of them, and completed 50.3 percent of his attempts for 1,176 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He also picked up 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground. But he was unable to fully wrestle the starting spot away from

Alex Smith

. It probably didn't help matters that


Mike Singletary


Troy Smith, who acknowledged to

The Plain-Dealer

that "thick-headedness and me having to grow up as a man" hurt him in the past, said a few teams have reached out to him, but he is a man without a team three weeks before the start of NFL training camps. Will a team give him another shot? Newsome thinks one should.