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Jets Sign RB Smith, Release S Hardin

Tampa Bay's 7th-Round Pick in '12, Smith Has No Pro Carries, 63-yd preseason KR

Updated, Saturday, 11:25 a.m. ET

The Jets have signed RB Michael Smith of Utah State and have released S Brandon Hardin today.

Smith (5'9", 205) was Tampa Bay's seventh-round selection (212th overall) of the 2012 draft. He played in one game with the Buccaneers that season with three kickoff returns for an 18.3-yard average. He didn't play for the Bucs in 2013. He was released in May.

In six preseason games over the past two seasons with Tampa, Smith had 31 carries for 98 yards (3.2-yard avg.) and 5 receptions for 38 yards (7.6-yard avg.). He also had a 63-yard kickoff return at New England in the second full preseason week last year.

Smith will wear uniform No. 36 beginning with tonight's Green & White practice. The number had been vacant.

Hardin was Chicago's third-round pick in 2012 but two preseason injuries prevented him from making his NFL debut. The Bears released him last October and he was signed to a reserve/future contract with the Jets in January. Hardin wore uniform No. 38.

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