Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has represented for the better part of the past 16 seasons what it means to defy common logic. He’s thrown naysayers out of the way at every turn. And he’s turned his perceived slight in the 2001 NFL Draft to determination on the field.
Now the 12th-leading receiver in the history of the NFL, Smith has announced his intention to retire following Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I’m about 89 percent sure,” Smith said Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “I’m pretty sure I know what I want to do. I’ve got great support from my family, my wife supports me whichever way I want to go. My boys want me to still play, but there’s a little girl, my baby who wants her daddy. Football is a conduit, something that gives you a platform, good and bad, but it gives you an opportunity. Football has given me more than I probably could give football back. This is probably my last game.”
Even at the advanced age of 37, Smith continues to prove himself as one of the most-reliable receivers in the NFL. He’s put up nearly 800 yards and is catching 70 percent of the balls thrown in his direction this season.
The five-time Pro Bowler has recorded eight 1,000-yard seasons and will go down as one of the most colorful receivers in the history of the game.
Though, as Smith mentioned in his announcement, this is still all about family for him. He mentions his little girl, who wants her father around. A known family man, that has to be tugging at Smith’s heart as he makes this final decision in what should be a Canton-bound career.
We will say one thing here. Should Smith officially retire, the NFL will not be the same without him. His fiery attitude and passion for the game is second to none.