As was expected, veteran Ravens receiver Steve Smith announced tonight that his 16-year NFL career is officially coming to end. “It’s been real,” the 37-year-old Smith tweeted, along with a photo noting many of his career accomplishments.
As a third round pick in 2001, no one could have predicted the kind of career that Smith would have. The wide receiver became the face of the Panthers’ organization in his 13 years there and he played with a chip on his shoulder upon joining the Ravens in 2014. In his age-35 season, he caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns, silencing doubters who thought his best days were behind him. He lost most of the 2015 season to injury, but he rebounded nicely this season as he caught 67 passes for 765 yards and five scores.
Smith will leave the game as a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time First-Team All-Pro selection. He’s also one of just eleven players to have 1,000+ catches and 14,000 yards receiving. His legacy of tenacious play coupled with his gaudy stats should make him a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. We here at PFR wish No. 89 the best in retirement.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.