Kevin Smith is back in Detroit.
The running back who enjoyed a fine rookie campaign for the Lions in 2008-09 when he rushed for 976 yards and eight touchdowns was signed by Detroit on Nov. 7. With starting running back Jahvid Best recovering from his second concussion since August, not practicing against on Tuesday, and not expected to play this weekend, the thankful Smith may have more than simply a roster spot.
"We hadn’t really planned on signing anybody, but Kevin looked so good— ran well, moved well, was in great shape, and you know, has been a productive player for us when he’s been on the field," coach Jim Schwartz said. "I think one of the silver linings in this was it gave his body time to heal."
Neither the Lions, nor any other NFL team, offered Smith a contract earlier this year, after stints on injured reserve in both 2009 (knee) and 2010 (thumb).
"I've been away from the game for eight weeks," Smith said. "Not to know if you will be able to play in this league, and still be young, and still be 24 years old? Not to be able to do something you love, but it be at the hands of 32 teams in the NFL, it humbles you.
"Second chances, you don't want to mess that up."
Just 24, Smith might be just in time for a comeback, as the 6-2 Lions already have more wins this season than Smith does in his entire 35-game NFL career (he is 4-31).