Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm just gonna come out and say it...

Clifton Smith is the greatest return man in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.

There. Simple. One sentence. And I believe every word of it. After a horrifying injury at Oregon in 2005 during Smith's first real action, in his first big road game, in the first quarter, as a Fresno State up-and-comer, he suffered a horrible knee injury. It basically killed his sophomore and junior seasons -- the stuff medical redshirts should be granted for.

After a breakout senior season in '08, Smith was an undrafted free agent (mostly 'cause he's only 5-foot-8) who everyone the 'Dogs ever played knew was one of the NCAA's great return men of all time. Not because he's astonishingly fast. But because he's Batmobile quick and makes cuts that are too impressive for analogies.

The Bucs had gone more than 30 years as an NFL franchise with just one -- ONE -- kick return for a touchdown. Clifton Smith has returned a kick and a punt for TDs in his first four games as a Buc. And a smart person would not bet against him doing it another time or two before the season is over.

You know the way people say someone is almost as fast as Devin Hester? Well, get ready to hear, "almost as elusive as Clifton Smith." Just take a looksie for yourself...

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