Troy Smith, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback whom the Ravens 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.
NFL dreams, though, as detailed in this feature story on the former Ohio State star 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 until he was sidelined with a severe case of tonsillitis.
We all know how the story then unfolded with Flacco, who literally ran away with the starting job in Week 1 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 he had a highly-scrutinized shouting match with his coach, 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.
Ravens' Newsome says Troy Smith 'definitely can' still play in NFL
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