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bama4256 02-10-2004 03:09 PM

Is Antowain Smith History?
Was he released by the Patriots this week? Or did they say he wouldn't be re-signed or what? They still have Faulk and maybe Clarett for the future. I'd like to see Clarett go to the Patriots. I think coach Belichick would straighten him out. As for Smith I don't know where he would go.

MountaineerDave 02-10-2004 04:22 PM

Smith had a team option (along with a $500,000 bonus) that was declined by the Pats.
Smith's next step is uncertain. What seems a fair bet is this: whereever he ends up, he'll probably be the #2 back. Even in NE.

Just because the Pats voided the contract by not signing off on two more years of paying a second-tier running back first-tier money doesn't mean he won't be re-signed to a new contract. The Pats didn't want to give the money he was due, and who can blame them. Since he signed the contract he signed, he's been mediocre at best. He sucked all of last year, and was only good in December, Jan and Feb this year.

The Pats seem an incredibly bad fit for Clarett. He's not a football first guy, and Belichick isn't big on non-football-first guys.

IF they draft a running back, look to the second round. Personally, I'm pulling for Greg Jones of FSU, but honestly, I expect they'll pick up a RB in the draft and sign one from free agency. Or skip the draft pick altogether, and give it up for a restricted free agent.


Brad O. 02-11-2004 06:57 AM


The Pats seem an incredibly bad fit for Clarett.
I couldn't agree more, Dave. I'd put the chances that New England drafts him at about 0%.

Belichick's statement about Smith made it sound like he won't be back, which kind of surprised me. Kevin Faulk clearly can't handle things by himself, though, and Mike Cloud couldn't start for any team in the NFL, so the Pats will be looking for someone to replace Smith.

They're in a position to do so through the draft, but I wouldn't be surprised if Belichick feels more comfortable with someone more mature. I think the guy he's looking for has a proven record but isn't good enough to justify ego/attitude problems. That's always a risk with a first-round kid right out of college who's been the cock of the walk whenever he's stepped onto a football field. Garrison Hearst seems like a good fit to me, with a second- or third-round pick brought in to see if he can be a long-term solution down the road.

Otherwise, Duce Staley and New England could be a good partnership if Staley has fired the agent who advised him to hold out last year.

Other guys who might be released and who could intrigue the Patriots: Michael Pittman, Moe Williams, Travis Henry, Tyrone Wheatley, Charlie Garner, Ladell Betts.

If I had to guess, I'd say they draft someone, but I think Belichick will be very tempted to find someone through free agency, especially if a couple guys like Henry or Garner become available.

bama4256 02-11-2004 12:59 PM

I agree Mountain Clarett would be their best choice.

MountaineerDave 02-12-2004 06:50 PM

Uh... okay, Keith. Maybe you should re-read my post.

As for the list that Brad creates: Pittman can be knocked off for his personal problems. The Krafts are highly circumspect of anyone with an entry in police blotters. T Kenyatta Jones, home with a prolonged injury, but on the payroll, was involved in some strange incident in which he dumped boiling water on his "assistant." Jones was cut prior to being arraigned.

The others are all possibilities. I agree that Staley would be a good fit, with the stipulation that Brad proposed.

Radio has briefly discussed Thomas Jones, though it's not clear he'll ever be any better than Smith has been.

Personally, I'd like to see them use one of their draft picks to steal a restricted free agent, like Kevan Barlow.


KevinBeane 02-12-2004 10:18 PM

Brad mentioned Ladell Betts. I probably only saw the Redskins twice last year, but both times, Betts impressed me, pulling off 5-7 yard runs on about 2/3rds of his carries, it seemed.

Who knows, maybe he sucked in the rest of his games, but to the guys here who know the NFL better than I do: Is he any good?

Clarett won't be taken by the Pats for all the reason Dave mentioned, and won't be of immediate help to anybody.

As a Clarett fan, I hope whomever takes him has the sense to sit him for the first two years as he slowly gets up to speed, after the rust and injury problems which, for the record, I do not think will haunt him throughout his career. If he is brought along slowly, I don't see any reason why he can't become an 1,000 yard rusher in this league eventually. He know he has mastered at least ONE steep curve in his football life: He rushed for 175yards against a Big 12 team (albeit a porous Texas Tech one) as an 18 year old in the first college game of his life, than for over 200 against the Pac 10 champs in his third.


I looked up Betts and, sure enough, I had the benefit of watching him in the two games (vs. Jets in week 1 and vs. Giants in week 3) where he had far-and-away his best days. Other than that, it looks like he pretty well sucked, although given the gaping maw of stats for him in the latter part of the season, he was apparently struggling with injuries for awhile.

MountaineerDave 02-12-2004 11:21 PM

Spurrier also doesn't know how to run the ball, Kevin. Spurrier couldn't figure which RB to use when, and often used none, leaving Ramsey to get abused when he needed someone in to block blitzers and such.

I like Betts some. I think he has some promise in a Gibbs' Redskins organization, though, so I don't know if he'll be available.


Anthony 02-13-2004 04:11 AM

Would Smith be only a #2 back if he went to Arizona? Quite possibly not. Washington? Probably not. Detroit? Definitely not. And what about Pittsburgh if Jerome Bettis does retire? Tampa Bay and Dallas are also possible, along with St. Louis if Marshall Faulk decides to call it a career.

So I'd say we haven't seen the last of Antowain Smith.

Pimpbot 02-13-2004 01:46 PM

In Arizona he'd be #2 behind Shipp who's on a big money deal signed last year. Throw in Emmits big contract and his wish to play one more year in AZ and Antowain isnt coming to this town any time soon.

MountaineerDave 02-13-2004 05:29 PM

Pimp's right on in AZ.
Washington's iffy... he MIGHT start there, but I just don't know.
Detroit wouldn't sign him.
Pittsburgh, if it wanted to go backwards even further at the RB position, would likely start him, but it's not clear what the offense is going to want next year. If they value hands... Antowain's not their man.

StLouis is a nonstarter because they have two RBs they like in Arlen Harris and Lamar Gordon.

Dallas... maybe, but I doubt it. Smith really isn't that big an improvement on Hambrick. More experienced, but...

The wierd thing about Antowain is that he might be pretty good that first year, but, his history in NE and Buffalo suggests that he dogs it in year 2 and on..

He'll be somewhere, but I doubt he'll be starting without injury to the original starter.


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