Ravens’ Smith coy on future
Steve Smith sounds like a man who’s ready to close the door on an NFL career that has spanned 16 seasons and taken him well beyond his 37 th birthday.
“Whether you want to or not, you’ve got to move on,” Smith said on Wednesday. “It’s part of life. The world still turns.”
The five-time Pro Bowl receiver will play in his 230th NFL game on Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens wrap up their season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Standing in front of the media wearing a Darth Vader costume, Smith said he’s “about 89 percent sure” it will mark the end of his stellar career.
He used that number because he wears No 89.
Though Smith spoke with deep emotion during his 10-minute session, he did not formally announce his retirement. He already did that once before, prior to the 2015 season, but ended up changing his mind after tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 7.
This time, when asked about his future beyond Sunday, Smith said: “Football has given me more than I probably can give back. For 2016-17 and beyond, it’s probably my last game.”
Probably? Pressed for something more definitive, Smith said, “Just let it be, bro.”
A minute later, Smith told of a symbolic message he received during practice.
“Today was pretty emotional out on the field,” he said. “It was windy, and parts of the field were frozen. The sun was shining. It was confirmation today. God winked at me.”
Smith broke into the league in 2001 with Carolina and played with the Panthers for 13 seasons before coming to Baltimore in 2014.
A feisty competitor with an enormous drive to win, Smith has a knack for drawing praise from his teammates and ire from those who go up against him.
“There’s not a lot guys that you look down a dark alley and say ‘I want to bring this person with me,’” Carolina quarterback Cam Newton said on Wednesday.
“But Steve Smith is one of those guys that you better make sure is on your team, and not against your team. I have seen both of them, and I would prefer him being on my team.”
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