Today was a strange day in the NFL as there were many stories breaking from all directions. In one of the classier moves of the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed in October 2010 to an undrafted free agent contract. After that announcement, everything spiraled downward.
First, the NFL announced the player penalties for the Bounty-Gate scandal including the season long suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints with three other players receiving multiple game banishment. Soon after those announcements, the shocking news broke of the death of former San Diego Chargers All-Pro (and future Hall of Fame) linebacker Junior Seau in an apparent suicide.
Unfortunately, for two potential NFL players, they will remember today for other reasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers released cornerback Antonio Smith and running back Chad Spann just before the teams scheduled rookie mini-camp. While neither Smith nor Spann were looked at as long-term answers for the Steelers and were widely considered long shots at making the roster in 2012.
Smith, a 2007 undrafted free agent by the Indiapolis Colts out of Ohio State also saw time with the Detroit Lions, San Diego Charges, and Cincinnati Bengals. Spann from Northern Illinois started his career when he was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2011. After his release, he latched on with the Buccaneers in October 2011 before finishing the season with the Steelers after the injury to Rashard Mendenhall.
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