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Return specialists running more, scoring less

While returning kickoffs for TDs has never been easy, it has never been as hard as it's been this season, writes Len Pasquarelli.

Updated: October 23, 2006, 12:39 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

CINCINNATI -- Before Steve Smith developed into one of the NFL's premier wide receivers and a Most Valuable Player candidate, the Carolina Panthers' star was an electrifying return specialist.

In fact, when the Panthers selected Smith in the third round of the 2001 draft, they did so in large part because, though there were some questions as to whether his lack of size would ever allow him to become a big-time receiver, there were never any doubts about his return skills.

Sure enough, ...

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