Photo credit: Matt Hazlett / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
The Baltimore Ravens got a heck of a player from the Carolina Panthers when they signed Steve Smith to their receiving corps. Smith had just been released by the Panthers and was looking for a new home to continue his professional career. He found a great landing spot in Baltimore and has never looked back since. In Smith’s first season with the Ravens he was able to haul in 79 receptions, 6 touchdowns, and 1,065 receiving yards. Showing that even though he was getting up there in age, Smith could still play at a high level and have success in the National Football League. In year two things didn’t change very much for Smith. He still came out of the gate and played at a high level. Bringing in 670 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns through the first 7 games of the season. That is when Smith had to face adversity head on. Smith would tear his achilles just 7 games into his 15th NFL season. There were some good things that happened because of the injury though. Instead of retiring like Smith had planned to at the end of 2015. Smith now had a new goal of not getting cheated out of his last NFL season. He made the decision to come back for the 3rd year of his contract and wanted to leave the league on a good note. That is excellent news for Ravens fans since Smith is one of the teams most dynamic weapons on the edge of the field. Giving quarterback Joe Flacco a dynamic threat that can beat the defense in a number of different ways. Even though Smith is small in stature, he plays like he is 7 foot tall. The guy has a motor that never stops running and he has perhaps the most heart of anyone on the field every time he steps on the gridiron. That combination of talent and drive are the reason that Smith is number 11 on the all-time receiving list in terms of yardage. It’s clear Smith can still get the job done and Cam Newton suggested the reason Smith is coming back is because “he always gets the last laugh”. That is just the type of guy Steve Smith is. That competitive fire is what made him such a dominate athlete and that same fire will likely get him to the Hall of Fame someday. In fact both Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice believe Steve Smith will get a gold jacket someday. It all comes to down to will. Steve Smith willed himself into a future Hall of Fame receiver time and time again. It will be a pleasure to watch him go one last time in his 16th season.
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