RB Ian Smart was part of an intense battle for spots in the Bucs' backfield during training camp this summer
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought back one of the most active members of their 2005 training camp, second-year running back Ian Smart.
Smart, a small (5-8, 192) but very quick back who first joined the Bucs last September, was signed to the team's practice squad on Wednesday. To make room for Smart on that eight-man crew, the Bucs released first-year fullback Carey Davis.
Smart was released by Tampa Bay on August 31, during the two-step process to get the roster from 91 training camp players down to the regular-season limit of 53. He played in the first three preseason games as the Bucs formulated a backfield from a deep list of candidates that also included Carnell Williams, Michael Pittman, Earnest Graham, Mike Alstott, Jameel Cook, Rick Razzano, Derek Watson and Charlie Garner. Smart was also considered a candidate for both the kickoff and punt return jobs.
Smart played in three preseason games, gaining 38 yards on 13 carries and adding three receptions for nine yards. He also returned two kickoffs for 32 yards and two punts for four yards.
Smart joined the Bucs on September 22, 2004 after he had been released by the New York Jets. He was originally an undrafted free agent signing by the Jets in 2003 out of C.W. Post, where he ran for 6,647 yards and an NCAA-record 95 touchdowns. The Jets didn't keep Smart on the active roster in '03, but they re-signed him after the season and sent him to the NFL Europe League in the spring of 2004, where he carried 41 times for 201 yards for the Scottish Claymores.
After two months on the Bucs' practice squad last year, Smart was signed to the active roster in November. In his NFL debut, against Atlanta on December 5, Smart ran around right end for a 25-yard gain on his first carry. He later ran one more time for a yard, caught two passes for 10 yards and gained 106 yards on five kickoff returns.
Smart's return coincides with the Bucs' decision to search for new kickoff return options, though the running back would not be a candidate for that job while he is on the practice squad.
Davis was signed to the practice squad on September 20, after safety Kalvin Pearson was promoted to the active roster.