Steve Smith

This Date In Transactions History: Panthers Sign Steve Smith To Rookie Deal

If Pro Football Rumors existed in 2001, we probably would have tucked the signing of a third-round receiver into one of our roundup posts. Fast forward 20 years, and that third-rounder is now considered one of the best wide receivers of the 2000s. On June 19th, 2001, the Panthers signed rookie wideout Steve Smith to his rookie contract.

Smith’s draft stock wasn’t necessarily due to a lack of talent. Rather, teams and scouts had limited (proverbial) tape on the receiver. Smith spent his first two years of college at Santa Monica College, a community college in California. He eventually got an offer to play for the University of Utah, and he proceeded to earn a pair of conference all-star nods during his two seasons in the Mountain West Conference.

However, with only a pair of Division I seasons under his belt (and with a nagging injury toward the end of his senior year), Smith ended up being the 11th wide receiver off the board during the 2001 draft. After going defense with their first two selections, the Panthers chose Smith with the No. 74 pick.

Smith didn’t see much time on offense during his rookie season, although he earned a first-team All Pro nod and Pro Bowl honors after finishing with 1,795 return yards (punt and kick) and three touchdowns. His net yardage of 1,994 led all rookies that season. During his sophomore year, Smith saw a much larger role in the offense, and he emerged as one of quarterback Rodney Peete‘s preferred targets, leading the team in receiving yards. The wideout established himself as one of the league’s top receivers in 2003; along with quarterback Jake Delhomme and running back Stephen Davis, the offensive trio helped guide the Panthers to an NFC Championship.

Unfortunately, that was the closest Smith would ever get to a Super Bowl ring, but the receiver still managed to establish himself as one of the best players in franchise history during his 13 seasons with the Panthers. Smith owns franchise records in receiving yards (12,197), receptions (836), and total touchdowns (67). His best season came in 2005, when he led the NFL in all three of those aforementioned categories (103 catches for 1,563 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns). Smith also earned a long list of accolades during his time with the Panthers, earning three All-Pro recognitions and five Pro Bowl appearances.

Smith’s tenure with the organization didn’t end on the best of terms; after being released by the team in 2014, the receiver promised “blood and guts” if he ever faced off against his former team. The veteran ended up inking a three-year deal with the Ravens, and when he faced off against the Panthers in Week 4 of the 2014 season, Smith went off for a season-high 139 receiving yards and two scores. Smith announced that he was going to retire following the 2015 season, but after that campaign was cut short due to an Achilles injury, he returned for one last season in 2016. He officially retired following that campaign.

The receiver will be eligible for the Hall of Fame next year. Smith ranks eighth all-time in receiving yards (14,731) and 12th all-time in receptions (1,031). Those are some spectacular numbers for a former third-rounder who probably wouldn’t have warranted his own post back in 2001.

AFC Notes: Smith, Jets, Bolts, Steelers

The Jets reached out to retired wide receiver Steve Smith about playing in 2017, the former Panther and Raven told Kim Jones of NFL Network (via Chris Wesseling of It’s unclear when that occurred, and it seems like an odd move for a rebuilding team that has spent the offseason dumping 30-somethings (including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker). Regardless, the 38-year-old Smith isn’t coming back, and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that the Jets were merely doing their due diligence when they contacted him.

More on Gang Green and two other AFC clubs:

  • The Chargers announced Tuesday that first-round receiver Mike Williams will miss the rest of their offseason program with a mild disc herniation in his lower back. Williams has been dealing with the injury since suffering it on the first day of minicamp nearly a month ago, and head coach Anthony Lynn implied in late May that the ex-Clemson star was behind the 8-ball as a result. Now, Williams could be at risk of beginning training camp on the physically unable to perform list, notes Kevin Patra of
  • A report in 2015 linked Steelers linebacker James Harrison to performance-enhancing drugs, and though the NFL didn’t find any evidence against him, it’s still suspicious of the pass rusher, writes Joshua Axelrod of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The NFL tested Harrison for PEDs for the third time this offseason on Tuesday, leading the 39-year-old to suggest on Instagram that the league is insulting his intelligence by claiming the tests are random.
  • The league is looking into the dispute that occurred between Jets linebacker Darron Lee and his girlfriend at the Governors Ball music festival last Saturday in New York City, per Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. The Jets also investigated the altercation, but they quickly cleared Lee of any wrongdoing. “He had an argument with his girlfriend,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “What do you want me to discipline him (for)? He had an argument with his girlfriend and somebody took a photo.” Bowles added that he spoke with “10 people” about the incident before deciding discipline wasn’t in order for Lee.

Ravens Hope Steve Smith Will Keep Playing

On New Year’s Day, Steve Smith announced that he is walking away from football. Days later, the Ravens aren’t so sure that they can’t get him to change his mind. Steve Smith (vertical)

[RELATED: Steve Smith Announces Retirement]

I haven’t given up hope that Steve Smith is going to come walking in here in September,” owner Steve Bisciotti said. “We’ll see about that character. I wouldn’t count him out.”

Smith, meanwhile, shrugged off Bisciotti’s comments.

Man, I’m retired,” Smith told Fox Sports 1. “I sent that paperwork to Roger Goodell January 2.

At 37, Smith was the NFL’s oldest receiver, but he was still quite productive. He hauled in 70 catches (third on the team), 799 yards receiving (second), and five touchdown catches (first). By the same token, Smith has been thinking about retirement for at least the last year and he is looking to spend more time with his family. Bisciotti & Co. will try, but it sounds like Smith will stick to his plan.

Steve Smith Announces Retirement

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.Steve Smith (vertical)

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.

Ravens WR Steve Smith Likely To Retire

Throughout his entire career, Steve Smith has defied the odds and even defied his age. But, every player has to call it quits at some point. Smith heavily indicated to reporters today that Sunday will be his final game in the NFL. Steve Smith (vertical)

I’m about 89 percent sure,” Smith said, making reference to his jersey number as he has many times in the past (link via Jamison Hensley of “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.

Smith, 37, was emotional as he discussed the likely end of his career. If Sunday is in fact his last hoorah, he’ll leave the game as one of just eleven players to have 1,000+ catches and 14,000 yards receiving.

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. 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.

Ravens’ Steve Smith On Comeback, Future

Just over a year ago, Ravens receiver Steve Smith declared that the 2015 season would be his last in the NFL. Now, having since gone back on that decision, the 16th-year man isn’t willing to reveal his plans beyond this season. Smith, 37, acknowledged Thursday that 2016 is his last year “contractually,” but he otherwise declined to discuss his post-2016 outlook, per Jamison Hensley of

Steve Smith (vertical)

Smith is set to conclude his contract this year on a $3MM salary, which is a relative pittance for such a productive performer. Before tearing his Achilles last November (an event that spurred his decision to return this season), Smith totaled 46 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns in parts of seven games. That type of output has been par for the course throughout the career of Smith, a longtime Panther and third-year Raven who has eight 70-catch seasons, eight 1,000-yard campaigns and 76 receiving touchdowns on his resume.

While it’s unknown if his lengthy string of excellence will continue on the heels of such a serious injury, Smith seems confident he’ll remain effective.

“The bully is back. Vacation is over for the (defensive backs),” he stated.

With the 11th-most receiving yards (13,392), 15th-most catches (961) and 29th-most aerial TDs in history, Smith has a chance to continue making a case for Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement. However, the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder told reporters that numbers didn’t play into his decision to return.

I really came back not to set any records but more because this organization gave me an opportunity,” he said. When I got hurt, I felt like I let those guys down in the locker room.”

Smith, whom the Ravens activated off the physically unable to perform list Thursday, partook in his first practice of the summer. He’s now officially back atop the Ravens’ receiving corps (depth chart), which also looks set to heavily feature Kamar Aiken and Mike Wallace. Breshard Perriman – Baltimore’s first-round pick in 2015 – missed all of last season with a sprained PCL, and another knee injury has prevented him from participating in training camp. His inability to get on the field makes Smith’s non-retirement all the more crucial for a team coming off a five-win season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Ravens’ Receivers

Ravens No. 1 receiver Steve Smith passed his physical Wednesday and will be activated from the physically unable to perform list, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Smith, whose 2015 campaign ended Nov. 1 because of a torn Achilles, could return to practice Monday.

Steve Smith (vertical)

Prior to the premature conclusion to his season, Smith announced that it would be his last in the NFL. But, not wanting to go out on a poor note, the 15-year veteran declared at the end of December that he’d come back for a 16th season. That is now officially the case for Smith, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro who spent the first 13 years of his career in Carolina before joining Baltimore in 2014.

Despite his age (36 at the time), Smith was amid yet another stellar showing at the time of his injury last fall. The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder registered 46 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns in parts of seven games. The Ravens still disappointed as a team, though, going 2-5 in those contests before ultimately finishing 5-11. Smith, who’s set to earn $3MM in the final year of his contract, will try to help Baltimore back to the playoffs and further his Hall of Fame case. In 205 career regular-season games, he has amassed the 11th-most receiving yards (13,392) and 15th-most catches (961) in history. With 76 receiving touchdowns, he’s currently in a three-way tie with Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff and Harold Jackson.

While Smith will be a fixture in the Ravens’ receiving corps this year, it’s unknown if the same will prove true in regards to Breshad Perriman. The Ravens took Perriman 26th in last year’s draft, but he ended up missing the entire season after spraining the PCL in his right knee on the first day of training camp. The injury didn’t heal properly over the course of several months, and after Perriman underwent arthroscopic surgery in October, the Ravens placed him on IR in November. There was then fear this past June that Perriman had suffered another serious knee injury, this time a torn ACL, though that was quickly shot down. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old still hasn’t practiced three weeks into training camp, notes Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun, and head coach John Harbaugh was unable to provide much of an update Tuesday.

Breshad Perriman (vertical)

“He’s running. He’s on the ground running right now, but I haven’t been told that he’s going to be back to practice tomorrow,” said Harbaugh. “I’m just like the fans. I’m waiting for him to be back out there. When he’s ready, he’ll be back out there.”

Further, quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t express much confidence about building chemistry with Perriman.

“It’s tough to say. It’s tough for me to even worry about right now because we have so many other guys that we have to worry about getting better and getting on top of it,” Flacco stated.

Without Perriman, the Ravens still have three productive wideouts on paper in Smith, Kamar Aiken and free agent pickup Mike Wallace. Their next best option is likely fourth-round rookie Chris Moore, as Roster Resource shows. Moore, however, just returned to practice from a two-week absence caused by a foot injury.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Kaepernick, Gabbert, Kuhn

Let’s round up some news from around the league on our last Sunday before full training camp practices begin:

  • Current Vikings guard Alex Boone spent the first seven seasons of his professional career with the 49ers before signing with Minnesota this offseason, and he tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Blaine Gabbert will beat out Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco’s starting quarterback job. Boone said, “To be honest I think that Blaine did a great job last year, and from what I know of Blaine, I think he’s probably gonna take the reins. I mean I think he’s a good guy, he knows what he’s doing out there, and he just has the support of the group so I think that’s one of the things to look forward to.” Boone’s comments, of course, are in keeping with recent reports from the Bay Area.
  • Longtime Packers fullback and current free agent John Kuhn told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio several days ago that he is still waiting for an NFL team (preferably the Packers) to give him a call. A full-length piece from SiriusXM staff provides more details of that conversation, in which Kuhn explains why he expects to continue playing in 2016. Kuhn believes the variety of sub-packages that defenses deploy in today’s game create a need for two-back sets, and he added, “If not this week, if not next week, sometime in August, somebody’s going to have a need for somebody who’s willing to come in, work hard, do some of the dirty work that not everybody does anymore.”
  • The Ravens put six players on the PUP list Saturday, as Jamison Hensley of reports, including big names Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Sr., Elvis Dumervil, and Breshad Perriman. All of those players, of course, can return to practice when activated, but they would have to miss at least the first six weeks of the season if they remain on the PUP list when Week 1 rolls around. Conspicuously absent from that list is Joe Flacco, who can participate in the first full-team training camp practice on Thursday.
  • Kyle Meinke of says the Lions‘ hottest training camp battle could be at wide receiver, where a host of veterans and unproven youngsters will compete for playing time behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
  • Greg Auman of The Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Buccaneers have 12 receivers currently on the roster, 10 of whom are 25 or younger. Of that group, Auman expects five to make the 53-man roster (or six if the group includes the return specialist). In a separate tweet, Auman indicates that the Bucs will also carry four tight ends.

North Notes: Ravens, Jeffery, Harrison, Lions

The five-year, $37.5MM deal offensive tackle Eugene Monroe signed in 2014 is the worst contract the Ravens have ever given out, opines Jamison Hensley of Monroe – whom the Ravens released earlier today – received $17.5MM in guaranteed money and, because of injuries, ultimately made just 17 starts after inking the contract. Hensley adds that the Ravens began souring on Monroe when he didn’t start their 2014 AFC divisional playoff game in New England because of an ankle injury. Monroe was healthy enough to be active for that contest, leading the Ravens to wonder about his toughness.

More from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Franchise-tagged Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery wants a long-term contract, but he’s content to play 2016 without one if an agreement isn’t reached by the July 15 deadline (via Jeff Dickerson of “It really doesn’t matter to me. Like I said, that situation will take care of itself. I’m here to play football and to focus on football,” said Jeffery, who’s currently slated to rake in $14.599MM under the tag.
  • Steelers linebacker James Harrison is 38, but he hopes to play for another two years, as’s Jeremy Fowler writes. “If you ask me that now, yeah [I can]. But that’s something I’ll deal with. I don’t know if I want to go that far, even though it’s only a couple of years away,” he said. Harrison also discussed his role with the team in 2016 and indicated that he is willing to do whatever is asked of him. The five-time Pro Bowler will surely play a smaller role this year than he did in his heyday.
  • Ravens LB Elvis Dumervil told reporters – including Clifton Brown of CSN Mid-Atlantic, via Twitter – that he underwent a preventative procedure on his foot and is unable to participate in minicamp as a result, though he should be ready by training camp. Teammate Steve Smith, who missed most of last year with a torn Achilles, is expected to sit out the entire preseason; however, he’ll be ready in time for Week 1, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
  • It appears that Lions receiver Corey Fuller had surgery on his injured right foot, per Michael Rothstein of That would help explain the Lions’ decision to sign Andre Roberts last week and also why the team hosted Anquan Boldin on a visit.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Smith, Steelers, Perriman

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith is jogging again but he won’t put a timetable on his return just yet, as Jamison Hensley of writes.

I don’t know when I’m coming back,” he said. “I just know I have to be able to do something in training camp to be able to play for the season. That’s just the way I operate. I can’t go from doing absolutely nothing [and] sitting on my butt for all of training camp and then go out there and play.”

At 37, Smith is the oldest wide receiver in the NFL. He was more effective than ever in the first half of the 2015 season, with 46 receptions for 670 yards in his seven games. All in all, the 95.7 yards per game average was the second-highest of Smith’s 15-year NFL career.

Here’s more from the AFC North: