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Report: Steve Smith Sr. leaving door open for potential return in 2016

It’s been widely assumed Steve Smith Sr. would retire after the legendary receiver tore an Achilles tendon on Sunday, but a report from Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports suggests the door is still open for a return in 2016.

Smith Sr. himself said the 2015 NFL season would be his last earlier this year, but after losing the second half of his final season it appears he’s re-thinking the entire retirement thing.

“Ever since Smith said he was done after this season, sources have said that team officials have done everything they can — respectfully — to convince Smith to return for another season,” Edholm writes.

Not surprisingly, Yahoo!’s source said Smith Sr. “was very down Sunday night” after the injury. He won’t know what kind of timetable his recovery will look like until after an MRI confirms the extent of his injury.

The Ravens don’t think Smith Sr. will want to end his career on such a down note.

I have a feeling Steve Smith will be back,” coach John Harbaugh said after Sunday’s game (h/t ESPN.com). “I love him, respect him, admire him. I told him that. That’s the kind of man he is, and he’ll be back.”

Before his devastating injury, which was a huge blow not only to Smith, but also to the Ravens, the future Hall of Famer broke into the NFL’s top 10 in career receiving yardage. He passed Cris Carter on Sunday and finished the game with 13,932 total receiving yards in his 14-plus-year career.

Not bad for a guy who broke into the league as a scrappy return man out of Utah.

The NFL will be brighter if Smith Sr. does make the decision to give it one more go in 2016. He’s one of the game’s greats and will be sorely missed when he does finally give up the game for good.