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December 8, 2009 @ 7:28 am
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Clifton Smith Placed On IR

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Bucs return man Clifton Smith was placed on injured reserve Tueday. Smith suffered his second concussion of the season last Sunday against the Panthers. Taking his place on the roster is RB Kareem Huggins. Sammie Stroughter is likely to replace Smith as the returner. WR Yamon Figurs is another candidate.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl kick and punt returner Clifton Smith was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Smith suffered his second concussion of the season against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The concussion came while Smith was trying to make a tackle on the game's opening kickoff.

Smith's first concussion came against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 at Raymond James Stadium. Panther Dante Wesley hit Smith while he was waiting to field a punt. Wesley was ejected from the game and suspended by the league. Smith missed the next contest against the New England Patriots, but returned after the Bucs' bye week and played against the Green Bay Packers.

Smith, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, averaged 29.1 yards per kickoff return with a long return of 83 yards against Green Bay. On 31 kick returns Smith totaled 902 yards. On punts Smith averaged 10.1 yards per return with a long return of 21. In limited snaps on offense Smith had four carries for seven yards, and caught two passes for four yards.

Taking Smith's spot on the roster is practice squad running back Kareem Huggins. The Hofstra product Huggins had an impressive showing for Tampa Bay in training camp. During the preseason games Huggins ran for 74 yards on 19 carries and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Huggins (5-9, 198) has been on the practice squad all of the 2009 season. Pewter Report will have an article on Huggins in the December issue of Pewter Report that comes out on Friday.

Taking Smith's place as a returner has been rookie wide receiver Sammie Stroughter. He returned one kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown this season. It came against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 after Smith left the game. Stroughter has returned eight punts for 45 yards (5.6 average), and 11 kickoffs with an average of 29.5 yards per return.

On Monday, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said that in addition to Stroughter, backup wide receiver Yamon Figurs would be a candidate to return kicks. Figurs was a third-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2007 NFL Draft.

The best season for Figurs as a returner came in his rookie campaign. Figurs averaged 10.7 yards per punt return with a 75-yard touchdown, and 24.7 yards per kick return with a 94-yard touchdown in 2007. In his career he has averaged 23.2 yards per kick return and 7.9 per punt. He spent part of the 2009 season with the Detroit Lions before being cut and signing with Tampa Bay. As a wide receiver he has three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in his NFL career.

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