After 16 long and memorable seasons, Steve Smith Sr. decided to finally hang up the cleats. He made his mark on football and is now ready to live life outside of the NFL.
On January 1st, 2017, Steve Smith suited up for the last time against the Bengals. He played his last game like it was any other game of his career. When the game was over, he said, “‘I know it’s my time,’” according to reporter Des Bieler of the Washington Post.
“Over his 16 years of playing football, he played in 219 games, averaged 14.3 yards per reception, and averaged 67.3 yards per game,” according to NFL.com. His desire to play well is what helped him get these stats over the years.
Steve Smith’s retirement has made many people upset to see him leave.
“I am sad to see him go because of how much he did for the Ravens,” sophomore Jared Tankersley said.
His presence on the field is certainly going to be missed next season.
Smith was a player who wouldn’t be thought of as good because of his height and older age.
“He showed that size and age don’t matter when you have the heart to play the game,” freshman Harrison Spilker said. He would never worry about getting hit and would just focus on doing his job of making plays.
His “eyes on the prize” attitude allowed him to succeed and mark his name down in the history books. “He has played the past three seasons with the Ravens, boosting himself into seventh place all-time in NFL receiving yards (14,731), as well as 12th in receptions (1,031) and 25th in receiving touchdowns (81),” Bieler expressed.
The way Smith played football made him a good player too.
“He is fun to watch play because of how scrappy and tough he his,” junior Scott Shuster said. He showed his dominance as a wide receiver, gaining respect from players but also making enemies.
Smith played the game of football in a way that not many players do. “He was aggressive, cocky, and fearless, but overall he had a true passion for the game,” Shuster said. He loved winning games and worked hard every game to achieve his goal.
Smith was a motivational player who would never give up until the game was over. “He was a leader for the team and he led the offense to great success,” senior Drew Nicholas said. He was the Ravens’ go-to receiver because they could always count on him to make a play.
With Smith not playing next season, the Ravens have to go back to the drawing board to make a new offensive game plan that doesn’t include Smith. “The Ravens will still be good, but they need to find a new leader to guide the team,” Spilker said. Another receiver is going to have to step up next season and take the role of Smith’s.
When his final game in Cincinnati ended, Smith said, “‘I will be myself and I’ll have a lot of free time, but at the same time, I’ll get to be with my boys and come back to Baltimore and see some games and see Joe throw touchdowns,’” according to reporter Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.