Now an Eagle, Smith says Coughlin miscaluated comeback

Former Giants wide receiver Steve Smith didn't play Thursday night against the New York Jets in his return to New Meadowlands Stadium, but he expects to be ready to face his old team when it visits the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 25.

"It felt good wearing that green," he told the New York Daily News on Thursday night. "I'm an Eagle now."

Smith signed with Philadelphia on Aug. 10 and practiced for the first time on Aug. 27 after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee during the offseason. He hopes to play in the Sept. 11 season opener against the St. Louis Rams.

Smith's recovery took less than the four to six weeks predicted by Giants coach Tom Coughlin during the offseason.

"I didn't know what coach Coughlin was talking about," Smith told the Daily News. "I expected to be ready, if not all the way, at least to participate. I did quite a bit in practice. (Thursday), we pushed it a lot. I did everything. It felt good."

Smith, who will return to the Meadowlands on Nov. 20 to play the Giants, said the team's offer to keep him wasn't good enough.

"It was tough, but that's the business of the game. I got injured, and that's what happened," Smith said. "I don't think the Giants thought other teams were going to want me. Who knows? But the Eagles seemed more eager to have me."

Smith, 26, was considered one of the best slot receivers in the game before his injury. He caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009. Last season, he caught 48 passes for 529 yards and three touchdowns before his knee injury in December.

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