Shortly after Carolina was eliminated from the postseason by the 49ers in January, wide receiver Steve Smith decided that 2014 would be his last season with the Panthers and as an NFL player, according to Don Banks of SI.com. Smith planned to play one more year, then retire as a Panther, the veteran confirmed.
“I finally decided and made the commitment to my family,” Smith said. “I told them, ‘I’m done. I don’t think I can do it much longer.’ My knee was sore and I knew all the work I had put into my career and what it would take. I came to terms with it, that this year was going to be my last year ever playing football.”
However, when he was released by the Panthers in the offseason, Smith received an unexpected jolt, and is now motivated to continue his career beyond the coming season. The 35-year-old signed a three-year pact with the Ravens and hopes to play out that contract before retiring.
“After this contract with the Baltimore Ravens, I am done,” Smith said. “I’m going to be stay-at-home dad, and I’m going to get on with the rest of my life’s work. I know sometimes there are people saying, ‘Oh, he needs to just let it go.’ Believe me, I will. I’m going to let it go. But I’m going to take a few people down with me. Not in spite, but just fun. I’m going to enjoy playing ball again. I’m going to have fun here.”
Of course, the modest $3.5MM signing bonus on Smith’s deal means that the Ravens could create cap savings by cutting ties with Smith in 2015 or 2016 if the new marriage doesn’t work out as well as anticipated. For now though, it appears a newly-motivated Smith is committed to playing multiple seasons before calling it a career.