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Monday, March 26, 2012
Can Rams' new receiver shake knee injury?

By Mike Sando

Steve Smith caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns for the New York Giants during the 2009 season.

Smith
Smith
The 26-year-old receiver has only 59 catches for 653 yards and four touchdowns in two subsequent seasons, enduring microfracture knee surgery that has called into question Smith's ability to produce at a high level in the future. Smith landed on injured reserve last season thanks to what was described as a bone bruise in the same knee.

Lingering concerns allowed the St. Louis Rams to reach agreement Monday on a one-year deal for Smith, an unrestricted free agent, according to Jim Thomas.

At best, Smith will recapture Pro Bowl form, giving quarterback Sam Bradford a needed weapon with the versatility to line up in multiple spots. Players recovering from knee surgery sometimes fare better in their second year back on the field. Microfracture surgery is generally a last resort, however.

Smith joins Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson as current Rams receivers coming to St. Louis from the Eagles. The connection appears coincidental. Amendola and Gibson appealed in part because the Rams were running the Eagles' offensive scheme from 2009 through last season.

Smith, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, was a big-play threat after the catch before his injury.

"He is an excellent route runner who can get in and out of his breaks with no wasted motion," the Scouts Inc. report Insider on him reads, in part.