L.J. Smith Agrees to Terms with Ravens

Dan ParzychSenior Writer IMarch 18, 2009

L.J. Smith seems to have an interest playing for teams with different bird names.

Last week, former Philadelphia Eagles tight end L.J. Smith was hoping to receive the long-term contract from the Atlanta Falcons he had always dreamed of. When that fell through, he decided to take his wings to the Baltimore Ravens.

According to James Walker of ESPN.com, Smith has agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with the Ravens. Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh is familiar with Smith from his days as an assistant coach with Andy Reid in Philadelphia.

When Smith played his college football for Rutgers University, it was a dream come true for the New Brunswick native. Not many players receive an opportunity to play college football in the same state they grew up in.

After Smith was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003, the dream became even more true now that he would be playing professional football in a city that was just a train ride away from home.

Over the years, all he wanted from the Eagles was a long-term contract. Thanks to groin and knee injuries the last couple of seasons, he never got the deal he always dreamed of.

Unfortunately for Smith, that dream of a long-term deal will be put on hold for at least one more year.

At one point in his career, Smith seemed like the receiving tight end the Eagles had always dreamed of having. As a rookie, he started five of the 15 games he played in, and caught 27 receptions for 321 receiving yards and a touchdown.

However, his next three seasons made the franchise and their fans believe he was the future of the Eagles. He started 39 of 48 games, and caught 145 receptions for 1,670 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Smith was looking to fill a void in the tight end position for the Falcon's offense ever since the departure of Algae Crumpler to the Tennessee Titans. Crumpler was drafted by the Falcons in 2001, the same year they drafted Michael Vick with the No. 1 overall pick.

He was a threat at tight end for the Falcons offense as the 6'2", 262-pound Crumpler appeared to be a wide receiver on the field. In seven seasons with the Falcons, he caught 316 receptions for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Now, the Ravens hope the signing of Smith will provide them with another receiving threat at the tight end position alongside Todd Heap, who has also struggled with injuries the last couple of seasons.

Smith has spent spent years in the NFL and will turn 29 on May. He was drafted in the second round by the Eagles in the 2003 draft out of Rutgers University.

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