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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

D. Smith checks out Minnesota; Bucs still in picture



SmithTAMPA - Safety Dwight Smith will visit the Minnesota Vikings today but said he would sign with the Buccaneers for one year if he is unable to attract a long-term deal from another team.

Smith, 27, was released by the New Orleans Saints last week despite having four years remaining on a $15-million contract after the team failed in its efforts to trade him during the off-season. In Minnesota, Smith would be reunited with defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who coached the Bucs secondary the past five seasons. He would compete with safety Tank Williams for a starting job.

"I'm on my way to Minnesota right now,'' Smith said Monday. ""I mean, there's a bunch of teams we're talking to and we'll just see what the best situation is going to be for me and go from there.

"It would be great to be (reunited) with Mike (Tomlin) and then you get to play the other safety next to Darren Sharper and that's pretty intriguing. But we'll just have to see."

In Tampa Bay, Smith would give the Bucs more depth and flexibility in the secondary. Veteran Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen are expected to start at safety. But Phillips has been plagued by injuries in his career and Smith also is capable of playing  cornerback in nickel situations. In 49 starts, Smith has 14 career interceptions.

However, Smith said the Bucs are only offering him a one-year contract. Tampa Bay players report to training camp Thursday in Celebration.

   ""Like I told them, if I do a one-year deal, I'll be here in Tampa,'' Smith said. ""I know I'll get lots of playing time. I'm also established here, I have a home here and I know my way around town.

Smith said he also is considering an offer from the Baltimore Ravens, who happen to be the Bucs' first regular-season opponent.



[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:42pm]


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