Steve Smiths 2011 season is over after just 11 receptions. The former Pro Bowl receiver, who the Eagles signed on Aug. 10, was placed on injured reserve Monday with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Thats the same knee that Smith underwent microfracture surgery on Dec. 21 last year after getting hurt eight days earlier while playing for the Giants in a game against the Vikings that was played in Detroit.
The Eagles paid more than 2.2 million for Smiths services for the 2011 season, making him one of the teams biggest free agency disasters in recent years.
Smith practiced all last week without any issues and never appeared on the Eagles injury report.
Head coach Andy Reid said at his press conference Monday that Smith experienced swelling in his left knee during the three-hour flight from Philadelphia to Miami on Saturday. Smith was inactive for the win over the Dolphins Sunday, and an MRI back in Philadelphia on Monday morning revealed what Reid said is a significant bone bruise.
Reid said Smiths knee wasnt bothering him much before the flight to South Florida and said Smith wasnt experiencing anything out of the normal.
Asked in general about Smith, Brandon Graham and Winston Justice, who all have struggled this year coming off knee injuries, Reid said the Eagles didnt rush any of those players back onto the field.
I dont feel like were rushing them back, Reid said. Were not going to put somebody out there thats not in a safe position to do that.
Smith, who caught a franchise-record 107 passes for the Giants in 2009, stunned the Giants when he signed with the Eagles on Aug. 10 and announced that he would be ready to play by opening day.
The Eagles paid Smith 1.5 million in base salary and more than half a million more in bonuses for total 2011 compensation of 2,281,250.
Smith wound up catching 11 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown for 2.28125. Thats 207,386 per reception.
For the sake of comparison, DeSean Jackson has 47 catches with three games left and is earning 600,000 this year. Thats 12,766 per catch.
When Smith signed, he took exception with Giants coach Tom Coughlins assessment that Smith faced a long haul to get back to action.
I would disagree with that, Smith said.
But Coughlins assessment turned out to be accurate, and the Eagles notion that Smith could come in immediately and contribute less than a year after microfracture surgery turned out to be mistaken.
Even though Smith did play as early as opening day, he clearly was never close to 100 percent.
He had just five receptions for 63 yards in the Eagles first eight games, and his only notable play was a costly fumble against his former team in the Giants Week 3 win over the Eagles.
With the Eagles close to taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and facing a 3rd-and-6 at the Giants 19-yard-line, Smith bobbled an easy catch that would have given the Eagles a first down at the 8-yard-line. Aaron Ross grabbed the ball in the air for an interception, and his 19-yard return set up a Giants TD just six plays later.
Smith is not under contract beyond this season.
The Eagles promoted 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle Cedric Thornton to the 53-man roster to take Smiths spot.
Thornton made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent from Southern Arkansas, where he was an NCAA Division 1-AA All-America.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org