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JAGUARS SIGN DE FERNANDO SMITH

The Jacksonville Jaguars today signed DE Fernando Smith, a free agent who made 16.5 sacks in his first four NFL seasons.

In 1997, Smith started the first 11 games of the season and then played in only two of the final seven games (including postseason), because of a hernia. For the season he made 57 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The 6-6, 287-pound Smith had 9.5 sacks in 1996, when he started all 16 games. In four seasons, Smith has played in 49 games, with 29 starts. He was originally drafted in the second round (55th overall) of the 1994 draft by the Vikings out of Jackson State. The 27-year-old Smith had been released by the Minnesota Vikings on July 28.

"I chose Jacksonville because of the aggressive defense they play, and a chance to win a Super Bowl," Smith said. "I can play end or tackle, and hopefully I will fit right in. Coach Coughlin talked to me about the defensive line, and he felt that I could help this team win."

Of Smith, Coughlin said, "I am excited that he is a Jaguar, and I am looking forward to getting him on the field. We are always looking for key players that can improve our team."

The Jaguars also released DT Dwaine Robinson today. Robinson, a defensive tackle from Virginia Union, had been signed on December 23, 1997.

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SMITH'S CAREER STATISTICS

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TACKLES GP/GS TKL SOLO ASST ST SACKS FF FR

1994 Minnesota 7/0 6 5 1 3 0.0 0 0

1995 Minnesota 12/1 10 3 7 1 2.5 1 0

1996 Minnesota 16/16 79 36 43 0 9.5 1 2

1997 Minnesota 12/11 57 23 34 0 4.0 1 1

NFL totals: 4 years 47/28 152 67 85 4 16.0 3 3

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POSTSEASON
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