Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. announced on Monday that the 2015 NFL season will be his last.
The 15-year veteran hasn’t slowed down a bit since joining the league as a brash playmaker out of Utah in 2001, but after enduring the rigors of this brutal sport for a decade-and-a-half, he’s finally realized he only has so much left in the tank.
“I feel like it’s time,” said Smith, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, adding, “If it’s the end, I feel like it’s the best place for it to end.”
Baltimore is once again considered a heavy favorite to compete for a title as a top contender in the AFC. The team’s offense could experience a revival of sorts this year, with rookies Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams acting as the supercharger.
No doubt Smith will be an integral part of what the team does in 2015 as well. His 79-catch showing proved last year that he’s still quite capable of producing on the field, and he gained over 1,000 yards and scored six touchdowns to boot.
Smith will certainly receive consideration for the NFL’s Hall of Fame when his five-year wait is up following the upcoming season. Already, his 17,672 total yards from scrimmage ranks No. 10 in NFL history, and he has racked up 75 career touchdowns.
Perhaps with the extra motivation that this is Smith’s final year, the Ravens will send him out in the same way Ray Lewis left the game following the 2012 season with a Super Bowl victory.
One of the game’s most explosive playmakers for the past 15 years, Smith’s presence will be missed by all—except, perhaps, those poor defensive backs who tried (unsuccessfully) to cover him.
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