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JAGUARS RE-SIGN THREE PLAYERS

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed DE Joel Smeenge, LB Tyrone Hines and RB Malcolm Thomas to 1998 contracts.

Smeenge, 29, ranked third on the team with a career-high 6.5 sacks in 1997. He played in all 16 games in the rotation at defensive end after starting 25 games in 1995 and '96. He also saw some limited time at strongside linebacker. Smeenge will be in his ninth season in 1998. He was originally signed by the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in 1995 from the New Orleans Saints.

Hines and Thomas spent the 1997 season on the Jaguars' practice squad.

Thomas, 23, was originally signed by the Jaguars on August 26. He was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at Syracuse who was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie and waived in their cut to 60 players on August 19. He rushed for 2,180 yards and 21 touchdowns during his career and was second-team All-Big East as a junior. Thomas lettered in football, basketball and track at Jacksonville's Paxon High, where he graduated in 1991.

Hines, 24, was originally signed by the Jaguars on September 24. He was an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee who spent the '97 training camp with the New York Jets and was released in the team's cut to 60 players. He played in 35 games and started 29 in three seasons. He led the Volunteers in tackles as a senior and was second as a junior. Hines was named Defensive MVP of the 1997 Citrus Bowl, and he played in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech as a sophomore. He is a native of Brownsville, Tenn.

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