In 2009, Steve Smith mattered.
Not the Carolina Panthers' version. He's always mattered.
We're talking about the then-New York Giants wide receiver who, in his second season, busted out in a big way with a franchise-record 107 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns.
Fast forward to 2012: The St. Louis Rams believe they did themselves some good in rolling the dice on Smith, who had microfracture knee surgery, a failed move to Philadelphia and a second trip to injured reserve.
"First off, he's a very first-class young man," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said in Sunday's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Overcame a difficult situation with his knee. The guy had an extraordinary workout and has a chance to get back where he was in 2009."
Not that Fisher is biased or anything (OK, maybe he is just a little).
"In addition to that he went to my high school (Taft in Woodland Hills, Calif.) and went to USC, so that gives him a chance," Fisher said. "I just thought I'd throw that out there."
Certainly, the Rams have taken a minor risk by signing Smith to a one-year deal worth $1 million in base salary. So if Smith can actually return to his '09 form, it ought to do wonders for the offense.
Lord knows Sam Bradford could really use the help.