Brad Smith seeks better fit in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Smith has always been a great athlete in search of the right situation. Maybe, by signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, he has found it.

The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Smith spent five years with the New York Jets. He did everything from special teams to wide receiver to Wildcat quarterback. The Buffalo Bills were intrigued enough by his size and skill to sign him as a free agent in 2011.

But a coaching change, a new group of young receivers and some broken ribs made Smith an afterthought in Buffalo. He was placed on injured reserve in August and released on Friday.

"You can't breathe, you can't lay down, you can't use the bathroom without it hurting," Smith said. "After a while, I could tolerate a lot more."

The Bills gave Smith a chance to find a better situation. The Eagles, who value size and versatility, were immediately interested.

"I know as much as you can from watching on TV," Smith said. "Obviously, (Kelly) is very creative. Guys are making plays all over the field. It will be fun to play with all the guys. I get a chance to learn how to do different things."

Smith has done plenty of different things since being a heralded college player at Missouri. He is likely to start here by returning kicks and playing special teams. That has been his lot. Despite his obvious ability and his varied collegiate experience, he hasn't been a go-to guy on offense in the NFL. It's almost as if his versatility has worked against him.

"In college, I never played special teams," Smith said. "You scored a touchdown, you go sit down. You don't see the kickoff. Now I know how to play a kickoff block and how to read a kickoff return. I don't think I would change it for anything, the experience I've gained."

Smith said he feels, "no question about it," as if his best days are ahead of him. At 29, he may finally have found a system that will take advantage of his abilities and his versatility.

"I'm excited about it," Smith said. "I want to get better."