Entering his 15th NFL season, Steve Smith of the Baltimore Ravens is letting everyone know it’s also going to be his last.
A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first team All-Pro, Smith seems to have overcome the odds stacked against him. His 5’9 frame and his ability to overcome the injury that made him miss almost the entire 2004 season (playing just one game). He bounced back from that one to win the 2005 NFL comeback player of the year award.
I feel like it’s time. I’m going to retire after this, go home and be a dad and look back and enjoy things. I don’t want to hold on. Jerry Rice is the best wide receiver to ever play. But I don’t believe that chasing whatever it is to chase for four more years would be conducive to my family or be conducive to me. I would be having to give up something. I would be jeopardizing something. I don’t know what that it is, and I have any intentions of finding out. If this is going to be the end, this is going to be the best place to end. I think it’s always easier when you have a finish line. You get to let things loose.
This will be Smith’s second season with the Ravens, helping them get back into the playoffs with a fantastic year, catching 79 passes for 1065 yards and six touchdowns. After 13 seasons in Carolina he was released by the Panthers, and very quickly picked up by the Ravens, signing him on a three-year, $10.5 million deal.
In 2005 Smith led the NFL in receptions (103), yards (1563) and touchdowns (12) for a receiver, while leading the league in yards-per-game three seasons later with 101.5. He has eight seasons of over 1000 receiving yards, and along with hall of famer Tim Brown, is part of an elite club of more than 13000 receiving yards and 4000 return yards in their careers.
Smith is 5th among active receivers in career receptions (915, 18th all-time), third among active players in receiving yards (13,262 which is 14th all-time), 7th among active players with 75 career touchdowns and leads all active players in all-purpose yards with 17,679, good enough for 10th on the all-time list.