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Ravens sign LB Smith

The SportsXchange

Perhaps veteran inside linebacker Daryl Smith is the long-awaited answer for the Baltimore Ravens, who have seemingly been seeking replacements in the middle of their 3-4 defense since the Super Bowl ended.

Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and short-term free agent signing Rolando McClain left the team, and the two projected starters -- rookie Arthur Brown and holdover Jameel McClain -- are recovering from injuries.

Lewis retired, Ellerbe signed a blockbuster contract with the Dolphins and Rolando McClain, the 23-year-old former first-round pick dumped by the Raiders because of off-field issues, retired last month.

Smith is the Jaguars' all-time leading tackler (678 tackles, 21.5 sacks) and played in a 4-3 defense his entire career in Jacksonville, mostly at weak-side linebacker.

In Baltimore, he'll get a shot at a key role as an inside 3-4 linebacker.

The critical question for the 31-year-old is whether he has enough left in the tank to stay healthy and play a contributing role. He played in just two games in 2012 because of a groin injury.

Jameel McClain has not yet been medically cleared to return from a neck injury. Brown, a second-round pick, had sports hernia surgery in May.
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