Ex-Terp Smith signs with CFL Colts

May 04, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Working on his third league and seventh team, former Maryland cornerback Irvin Smith will try to resurrect a near-miss pro career this summer in Baltimore with the CFL Colts.

Smith, who won four letters with the Terps from 1985 to 1988, said yesterday that he has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with an option year to play for the Canadian Football League expansion team.

The right place at the right time?

"I feel like it is," said Smith, 27, who lives in Gaithersburg. "If I get a legitimate chance to make the team, I definitely will make the team. I feel confident I can go in and be an impact player."

His first crack at the Colts' secondary likely will come at free safety. Director of player personnel Jim Popp first saw Smith in the World League three years ago. He liked what he saw.

"He caught my eye," Popp said. "No one could run by him. He was always with [receivers], always making plays on the ball. . . . He's smart enough he can make checks from safety and versatile enough he can play anywhere in the secondary."

Smith has had to be versatile. He was a late cut twice with the New York Jets after leaving Maryland in 1989. He spent two years in the World League with the London Monarchs ("It was like a paid vacation, an experience you cherish"), was cut by the Minnesota Vikings and was a practice squad player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL.

Last year, after a strong performance in Maryland's alumni game, he was invited to the Washington Redskins training camp. He separated his clavicle in a preseason game, was on injured reserve for 11 weeks, then was released. He finished the year on the Vikings practice squad.

"I'm excited to play for the local team, even if it's not the Redskins," Smith said. "And you never know what can happen if I'm successful. It can open many more doors after my career. I think something special is going to come out of this franchise."

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