Steve Smith Sr. was playing for the wrong team for the first 13 years of his NFL career


Steve Smith Sr. has only been with the Baltimore Ravens for 18 months now with one season under his belt, but doesn’t it feel like he’s been wearing the purple and black his whole career?

When Smith joined the team last season, he brought a lot to the table as a veteran in experience, strong leadership with his vocal approach, and his toughness, which is exactly what the Ravens pride themselves on being; tough.

Smith has not only become a quick fan favorite in Baltimore, but he’s earned the respect and support of his coaches and teammates, which was made clear when Smith announced to the team that this would be his last season lacing up the cleats.

“I’ve spent many nights going to sleep and waking up thinking about this. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my last season. I wanted to tell all of you first,” Smith told the team before a routine training camp practice. “For me, I plan to leave a trail of destruction behind. I want you to know that. It’s going to be my honor and privilege to do this with all of you.”

Head coach John Harbaugh showed his immediate support, saying “It’s going to be our honor and privilege to be with you on this journey.”

As Smith rose his fist, the team huddled around him as they did their usual “One, two, three, Ravens” shout before starting practice.

It’s evident that Smith took a note or two out of Ray Lewis’ book, making his voice heard on and off the field and also using his retirement as more motivation than languishing. Now, that’s not to say that the Ravens are guaranteed to make another trip to the Super Bowl because of this, but it will definitely add to the drama of this season and I’d expect guys to leave it all on the line in honor of Smith. Especially, given the fact that Smith plans on returning the favor, leaving “a trail of destruction behind.”

The Ravens have often been referred to as one of the most battle-tested teams in the NFL and to earn that title, you must have battle-tested players to go along with it. That’s Smith. He’s as battle-tested as they come. Last year alone proved that fact. Here you had a guy that had spent his entire career playing for one team, which is where he was able to blossom as a receiver in this league.

I’m sure Smith would have wanted to finish his career out where it started; in Carolina. However, now that he looks back on things, would he really want to erase the performance he put on against his former team last season? I don’t think so.

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Allow me to jog your memory about what Smith did in that game. He brought in seven catches for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns to put the icing on the cake. That’s what Smith did on the field, but he also had some interesting tactics for them from the sidelines as he was seen doing some routine trash talk in front of the sideline cameras.

That was during the game, but when it was all said and done, the now 15-year veteran, showed quite the amount of class as he refrained from speaking negatively about his former team, allowing his play that day to do all the talking. How someone can remain humble after a performance like that, I don’t know. But, that’s what the great Ravens do and that’s the culture that Harbaugh has worked hard to develop in Baltimore since arriving in 2008.

As you can see, Smith is like a long lost brother to the Ravens’ organization and his skills on the field combined with his personality off the field leaves you saying, ‘Now there’s a true Raven.’

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first quarter in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

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