After two cuts, rookie returns

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Dorian Smith spent the first two preseason games calling out plays a coast away.

Twice cut by the Washington Redskins, the defensive end ate canned food, slept on fraternity brothers' couches, worked out five times daily at Oregon State and watched the Redskins' games on television while awaiting one more chance.

It finally came. Signed for the third time Tuesday, Smith will play against the New York Jets on Saturday.

"It's the love of the game. I live for football," Smith said. "To have them cut me, no matter how many times, just made me go home hungrier and work out harder. I get another opportunity to play football. It's a lot easier (to return) because I got to know the people. That cuts some of the uncertainty out. I just need to learn to hold my own."

Smith was an all-Pac-10 first-teamer last season for the Beavers, with 42 tackles and six sacks. Yet he went undrafted and quickly learned rookie free agents are at the bottom of roster pecking orders. Smith carried defensive end Jason Taylor's pads and helmets off the practice field Wednesday.

Still, there's something about Smith that coach Jim Zorn likes. Despite twice giving Smith the pink slip, Zorn felt another chance was merited.

"It truly was a numbers situation," Zorn said. "To his credit, he stayed ready and he didn't burn bridges, and we didn't burn our bridges with him. Now we'll have a chance to have a real good look."

Second chances are Smith's forte. Or maybe that's third chances. Smith's first stint was May 1-27 for minicamp and offseason practices. He was shocked when cut.

"It actually made me have tougher skin. It made me learn the business," Smith said. "Coming in, I thought it was like college — I would come in and play. I came in like a redshirt. I knew I had to learn the ropes."

The second tour lasted June 9 to July 14, long enough for a second round of offseason practices but short enough that he was gone a week before training camp started. He was talking to another teammate who was released when his "call waiting" buzzed with the bad news.

"I was saying, 'This is such a crazy business — you're living day to day,' " he said. "Then they called me and let me know I was released. I was really surprised. I couldn't believe it."

Smith needed to move out of his college apartment despite taking summer classes. Mostly, he was wondering what his next move might be.

"I was kind of homeless, living between my frat brothers' houses, thinking about having to go back home and live with Mom," he said. "I was watching the games, wishing I had one more shot. I got it. I can't blow this one. Nothing's promised. I'm trying to live day to day. I've been cut twice, so I'm just enjoying my time here."

A long shot to make the team, Smith said the two breaks at least helped decide his career following football.

"After being away from football, I really want to get into coaching," he said.

NotesWide receiver Devin Thomas, a second-round pick, will make his preseason debut against the Jets after missing most of camp with a hamstring injury. ... Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (sore hamstring) is not expected to play. ... Cornerback Carlos Rogers said he wants to play a series for the first time since his major knee injury last October. Zorn was skeptical, though, saying he wouldn't rule it out.

Saturday's game WHO: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets.WHEN: 7 p.m.WHERE: Giants Stadium.TV: 3 8.INSIDE: Brett Favre says his arm is "fatigued." Page D5

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