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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Mike Smith returning to Jets

By Andrea Adelson
ESPN.com

West Virginia assistant Mike Smith has decided to return to his job coaching linebackers with the New York Jets, less than two weeks after he accepted a position with the Mountaineers.

The change of heart comes as West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen attempts to complete his defensive coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and two assistants left for Arizona last month, leaving several spots to fill.

When West Virginia announced it had hired Smith on Jan. 20, it listed him as a defensive assistant. No title was provided, subject to the completion of the staff.

The only other defensive assistant that has been hired, Joe DeForest, has been established as co-defensive coordinator.

Smith worked for the past two and a half years with the Jets outside linebackers. He was recently promoted to full-time outside linebackers coach after serving as a coaching intern for the first two seasons.

In a statement Jan. 20, Smith said: "West Virginia University is one of the elite college football programs with a lot of history and tradition, and I am excited to join the staff. I have known Dana for a long time, and it is evident to see how much he already has brought to the program in the short time he has been there. Having played in the Big 12 Conference, I look forward to being on the staff, as West Virginia makes the transition into a new era. The atmosphere and people at West Virginia were the biggest sell for me personally. It was like being at home."

Washington State coach Mike Leach tried to hire Smith in December to become his linebackers coach but the Jets gave him the promotion to keep him in Florham Park.

Linebacker Aaron Maybin, who resurrected his career with the Jets after being cut by the Buffalo Bills, credits Smith with his newfound NFL success. Maybin, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, had been labeled a bust before coming under Smith's tutelage and leading the Jets with six sacks this season.

Andrea Adelson is a national college football blogger for ESPN.com.