And he doesn’t plan for that to change. Ever.
Smith recently sat down with The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec and spoke about his NFL career and the upcoming 2021 season. In the interview, he revealed that he plans to never play for another team besides the Ravens.
“I absolutely will not play for another team,” Smith told Zrebiec. “If the Ravens didn’t re-sign me last year and I felt like I could still play, I probably would have still retired.”
Jimmy Smith wants to play with the Ravens for the rest of his career.
This isn’t just verbiage either. Smith opted to re-sign with the Ravens back in January rather than go through the process of free agency. That was a deliberate decision on his part.
"“This year, I was like, ‘I know I want to be here, so let me not play games.’ Obviously, I know I’m not going to be one of the two starters, but I know I have a role on this team. I’m comfortable with that, so it was easy for me to sign back again.”"
As Smith details, he knew he wasn’t going to be one of the team’s starting cornerbacks. Even as he approaches the age of 33, there are certainly a handful of teams out there that could use Smith as a starting cornerback.
But Smith would rather settle for a reserve role in Baltimore than a starting gig anywhere else. In fact, he’d rather opt for retirement over signing with any other team.
"“I absolutely will not play for another team. If the Ravens didn’t re-sign me last year and I felt like I could still play, I probably would have still retired.”"
The 27th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Smith is one of five remaining holdovers from the team’s Super Bowl XLVII-winning roster along with Pernell McPhee, Anthony Levine, Justin Tucker, and Sam Koch.
Smith was a reserve cornerback in that season, but it didn’t take long for him to earn a starting role and quickly become one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL.
Injuries always seemed to prevent him from truly reaching his ceiling, but there’s no doubt that Smith has a special place in the hearts of all Ravens fans.
An 11-year veteran and likely a future Ring of Honor member, Smith plans to play out the remainder of his career in Baltimore.
It doesn’t matter that he’ll be behind the likes of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Tavon Young on the depth chart. It doesn’t matter that he’ll be asked to mentor players like Brandon Stephens and Shaun Wade more than he’ll be asked to play.
Jimmy Smith is here to stay. And if injury strikes, he’ll be the first player the Ravens call on to reclaim his starting role — just as he did last year.