TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Akili Smith was released Monday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the latest NFL team to part ways with the quarterback who was the third overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft.

Smith was only with the Buccaneers after the team agreed to sign him so he could participate with an NFL Europe team, the Frankfurt Galaxy, this summer. The Galaxy’s season ended on June 4, and Smith returned to Tampa for last week’s minicamp.

Taken by the Cincinnati Bengals, Smith was a member of the heralded 1999 quarterback draft class, which included Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown, all of whom were among the top 12 picks that season. Only McNabb and Culpepper, starring for Philadelphia and Minnesota, remain in the league.

Smith appeared in just 22 games, starting 17, in four disappointing seasons with the Bengals. He signed with Green Bay before the 2003 season, but was cut.

AP-ES-06-13-05 1738EDT


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