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Jimmy Smith Contributing To Defense Again


The Patriots were threatening at the end of the first half and went with three wide receivers from the Ravens' 27-yard line.

Who did Baltimore put in the game?

It was cornerback Jimmy Smith, who saw his first extensive action of the playoffs. Now the talented, yet injury-plagued first-round pick could be an impact player in Super Bowl XLVII.

"It's been a long journey, but I'm definitely happy that I got a chance to get my feet wet," Smith said. "And I'm happy it's leading to this next game so I can play some more."

Smith has seen limited action since being sidelined by a sports hernia in Week 10. He missed five games and was replaced by cornerback Corey Graham as a starter.

With Graham playing so well in his absence, Smith returned to contend with Chykie Brown for the third cornerback spot. But Brown seemed to be winning that competition.

Smith saw just two defensive snaps against the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, then none in Denver. He was used only on special teams.

But Smith said he wasn't playing much because coaches wanted to give him extra time to get healthy.

"They slowly let me get my feet all the way underneath me before they put me back out there," Smith said. "It happened to take until the AFC championship."

Smith saw 36 snaps against the New England Patriots as Baltimore's third corner, which equates to 43 percent of the total defensive snaps.

He came in after Brown seemed to have a miscommunication that led to the Patriots' lone touchdown on a 1-yard pass to Wes Welker, but Smith said splitting time was already part of the plan. Smith finished the game with two tackles and didn't have any glaring mistakes.

Smith knows he's not going to be a starter in the Super Bowl with Graham, who has logged four interceptions, playing so well.

"You don't want to take him out," Smith said. "He's playing his butt off."

But the second-year Smith is hoping for some more time next Sunday in New Orleans. He hasn't lived up to his own expectations for his career yet, but a big game or key play in the Super Bowl would make a significant difference, he said.

"That would be a great finish," he said. "But I'm just happy to get back out there, period."

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