CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs by defensive lineman Robaire Smith #98 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 19 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Even if he does not return as a member of the Cleveland Browns next season, it is good news to hear that free agent defensive end Robaire Smith has been medically cleared to return to the NFL in 2011. Smith always seemed to be a forgotten piece of the Browns' defense, perhaps because he missed so much time to injury. He did not play the last 11 games last season due to a spinal injury.
Let's assume that Smith's health is not a concern. If that is the case, I would be 100% behind bringing him back next season, as he would be a veteran presence to fill a major hole on the defensive line. I'll get more into this when I do my free agency preview over the next couple of weeks, but Smith has enough experience playing in a 4-3 system and is the all-around effective player who can be counted upon to do his job. I think having Smith and Fujita on the same side would be a solid veteran pair, just like it was the first half of the 2010 campaign in the 3-4 defense.
At the scouting combine in February, general manager Tom Heckert said the team would be interested in retaining Smith depending on the results of his medical evaluation.