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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Tampa Bay Bucs return man/RB Smith focusing on special teams impact



Coach Raheem Morris often mentions Pro Bowl return specialist Clifton Smith as an additional weapon the 2-2-1 running back rotation that features Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham. But Smith says his focus heading into the season opener against Dallas is special teams -- a role with which he made such an explosive impact as a rookie last year with a kickoff and punt returned for touchdowns.

"Special teams is what got me here, special teams is keeping me here," he said. "If I get in on offense and take some of the load off of our three running backs, that'll be great. Anything I can do."

Smith got work during the preseason in third-down situations and in two-minute and four-minute offenses. "They were pretty much trying to get me battle tested," he said.

But when the stocky 5-9, 190-pounder thinks about Sunday, he pictures himself in his special teams mode -- breaking a long kick or punt return.

"I envision a lot of stuff -- I think about a lot of stuff during the week, and especially the night before the game," he said. "And then hopefully I'll make stuff happen the day of the game."

-- Dave Scheiber, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:41pm]


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