The Browns have signed veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII, the club announced on Sunday. The signing will help Cleveland address its needs at middle linebacker after Mack Wilson sustained a hyperextended knee last week. Wilson, a starter during his rookie season, is hoping for a six-to-eight week recovery timetable.
The 31-year-old Smith spent his first four seasons with the Seahawks. A seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft, Smith received eight starts in 2013 while helping Seattle capture its first Super Bowl win. Smith was named Super Bowl MVP as his Seahawks beat the Broncos; his 10 tackles, fumble recovery and pick-six of Peyton Manning helped lead Seattle to a 43-8 victory.
Smith spent another year in Seattle before joining the Raiders, where he was a full-time starter for the first time in his career. In 2014, his first season with the Raiders, Smith set career highs with 122 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and six passes defensed.
In 104 regular season games (52 starts), Smith has tallied 395 tackles, six sacks, 10 forced fumbles, 17 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and four interceptions. In nine playoff games, Smith has logged 35 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
Wilson joins a Cleveland linebacker corps that includes Wilson, Sione Takitaki, B.J. Goodson, Willie Harvey, and rookies Jacob Phillips and Solomon Ajayi. Phillips, who is vying to be a Week 1 starter for the Browns, recorded 113 tackles for LSU last fall while helping the Tigers capture the national championship. The Browns also spent their second- and third-round picks on defense, selecting former LSU safety Grant Delpit in the second round and former Missouri defensive lineman Jordan Elliott in the third round. Delpit, like Phillips, is in line to be a Week 1 starter.