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Maurice Smith back to help in Dolphins’ secondary

For the third time this season, the Miami Dolphins have called up safety Maurice Smith from their practice squad.

Miami safety T.J. McDonald didn’t practice this week because of an ankle injury. The Dolphins’ injury report shows McDonald’s status as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The injury report lists cornerback Xavien Howard as questionable. Howard participated in practice on a limited basis this week after missing the past two games with a knee injury. Rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama has filled in for Howard, and if that’s the case again on Sunday, he wouldn’t be available to step in for McDonald.

The Dolphins signed Smith to their active roster on Friday.

Smith played his first three collegiate seasons at Alabama before following former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to Georgia as a graduate transfer when Smart became the head coach of the Bulldogs in 2016. A reserve during his time at Alabama, Smith became a team captain at Georgia in his final college season.

Last season, Smith earned a spot with Miami as an undrafted rookie. He played in six games — getting on the field for 23 defensive snaps and 82 special-teams plays — before appendicitis ended his season. He finished 2017 on Miami’s non-football illness list.

When the Dolphins reduced their preseason roster to the regular-season limit of 53 on Sept. 1, Smith made the cut. But on Sept. 3, Miami waived the defensive back to add offensive tackle Sam Young to the roster.

When Smith cleared waivers the next day, the Dolphins signed him to their practice squad. He stayed there until promoted to the active roster on Sept. 18.

Smith played in four games before being waived again on Oct. 15 — again to add Young to the roster. But the Dolphins re-signed Smith to the active roster on Oct. 17, and he played in one more game before being waived again on Oct. 29.

Miami again re-signed Smith for its practice squad, where he’s been for the past eight weeks.

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While Smith is preparing to play on Sunday, another safety with Alabama football roots had his NFL season end on Friday when the San Francisco 49ers put Jaquiski Tartt on injured reserve.

The former Davidson High School and Samford standout has started eight games for San Francisco this season. But he’s missed six games, including the past two, because of a nagging shoulder injury.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.



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