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49ers sign CB Keith Smith, Release WR Micheal Spurlock

The loss of Nate Clements meant the team needed some cornerback depth behind Dre Bly and Marcus Hudson. Today the 49ers made an initial move to shore up that depth by signing CB Keith Smith. To make room for Smith, the 49ers released much maligned KR/WR Micheal Spurlock.

Below are some details from the 49ers about the move. I was looking for some info and found some interesting stuff. Our Lions blog had some comments when Smith was released at the final roster cut:

Cornerback Keith Smith was released on Wednesday. Though Smith was injured for part of training camp and hadn't been great since he returned, this was an unexpected move. I personally thought Smith would make the team over Ramzee Robinson, albeit not by a very wide margin. This decision really just came out of left field, especially when news broke a few hours later that Cletis Gordon was claimed by the Lions to fill Smith's spot on the roster. Gordon is a cornerback who was cut by the Texans after spending only a few days with the team. Before that he was with the Chargers, where he spent three seasons and was a starter in one game last year.

The folks at had some comments when Smith was released by the Lions at the beginning of the season:

Smith was Detroit's best downfield on-ball defender last year, but he never stepped up in training camp this season.

Smith (5-11, 191) was originally selected in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. After spending five seasons with Detroit, he was released prior to the start of the 2009 season.

Smith has played in 71 career games (5 starts), registering 118 tackles, four interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one sack, one forced fumble and one touchdown.

A 29-year-old, native of Leesville, LA, Smith played collegiately at McNeese State.

Spurlock signed with the 49ers on January 23, 2009, after spending one season with the Arizona Cardinals and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in 11 career games (four with the 49ers) and totaled four receptions for 31 yards and 19 kickoff returns for 498 yards and one touchdown.

In addition, the 49ers have also released TE Carson Butler from the practice squad.