Twistity NFL Exclusive: Goodbye, Mr. Smith

Steve Smith Says 15th NFL Season Will Be His Last Never call Steve Smith an overachiever. Not unless you want him in your face. Smith was too often judged...

Steve Smith Says 15th NFL Season Will Be His Last

goodbyemrsmith1Never call Steve Smith an overachiever. Not unless you want him in your face. Smith was too often judged by his lack of height (he’s 5-foot-9) and not enough by the size of his heart, his determination, his willingness to work.
 
The Baltimore Ravens receiver informed his teammates on Monday that the coming season – his 15th in the NFL – will be his last. He will retire and spend more time with his family, which stayed behind in Charlotte, N.C., when the Carolina Panthers released him after 13 seasons.
 
“I don’t want to hold on,” Smith said at the Ravens’ training camp in Owings Mills, Maryland. “Jerry Rice is the best receiver to ever play, but I don’t believe that chasing whatever it is to chase for four more years would be conducive to my family or me. I would be having to give up something.”

The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro piled up 13,262 career receiving yards and 73 touchdowns on 915 catches in his 14 seasons. Durable? He missed one game in the last four seasons. He has surpassed 1,000 yards eight times while establishing a reputation as a feisty competitor who will fight for the ball.

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That competitive spirit doesn’t just show up in games.

“He’s going to force you to practice every single day or he’s going to humiliate you,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. Players who make teams better on Sunday are everywhere. Players who make teams better every day of the week are rare. And Steve Smith, all 5’9 and 185 pounds of him, did exactly that.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .

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