Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. needs 3 catches for 1,000th re­cep­tion

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— With three catches against the Dal­las Cow­boys on Sun­day, Steve Smith Sr. can be­come the 14th player in NFL his­tory with 1,000 ca­reer re­cep­tions.

The Baltimore Ravens vet­eran wide re­ceiver cur­rently sits at 9,997 catches in his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

“I don’t re­ally think about it that much. As it gets closer, yes, you think about it. But you try not to fo­cus on it too much, be­cause then you find your­self ei­ther re­cep­tion count­ing or yards count­ing,” Smith said Wed­nes­day. “That is not what you need to do, be­cause when the hard ones come, you catch them, and when the easy ones come, you take off run­ning [and] you drop them. I’m just try­ing to nar­row my fo­cus, fo­cus on ev­ery ball and ev­ery catch like it’s the first one.”

Smith, 37, has the eighth-most re­ceiv­ing yards in league his­tory, hav­ing passed Reg­gie Wayne and An­dre John­son, but he pre­vi­ously said the pur­suit of 1,000 re­cep­tions drove his de­ci­sion to re­turn for one more year af­ter pre­vi­ously an­nounc­ing he would re­tire at the end of last sea­son.

“[I thought about it] last year when I re­al­ized I could get it,” he said. “I nev-

OWINGS MILLS

er re­ally thought I could get to 1,000 re­cep­tions.”

Smith joked dur­ing train­ing camp that when he hauled in his 1,000th catch, he may leave the sta­dium, hop into his car still in uni­form, and drive home to Char­lotte. That won’t be the case if it hap­pens Sun­day.

“Not from Dal­las. That is a long drive,” he said. “I would have to rent a car and all that stuff.”

Smith’s sea­son ended with a torn Achilles in 2015. In 2016, he’s caught 36 passes for 417 yards and a pair of touch­downs – de­spite be­ing the NFL’s old­est re­ceiver and missing two games.

“Ev­ery­thing that guy does is in­cred­i­ble,” quar­ter­back Joe Flacco said. “Ev­ery­body should look at him, and I don’t know if they should be jeal­ous or what, but they should def­i­nitely take no­tice of how spe­cial of a per­son that they’re watch­ing. I think he’s go­ing to be a guy that we re­mem­ber for a while. I’m def­i­nitely a very proud per­son to say that I can play with him. With the things that he’s gone through and the way that he’s come back this year, I’ll be telling sto­ries about him for a long time.”

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

MICHAEL CHRITTON/AKRON BEACON JOUR­NAL/TNS

Ravens wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr., seen here against the Cleve­land Browns ear­lier this sea­son, can reach 1,000 ca­reer re­cep­tions with three catches against the Cow­boys on Sun­day.

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