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

Troy Smith

, the former

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Heisman Trophy

-winning quarterback whom the

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Ravens
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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

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dreams, though, as detailed

by

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

and

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

49ers

. 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.

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