(The Sports Xchange) - Steve Smith Sr., a tough, elusive, explosive receiver over 16 years in the NFL, confirmed his retirement after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals in the team’s regular season finale.
“It’s over, it’s done. I know it’s my time,” he said.
Smith ends after 1,031 catches for 14,731 yards and 81 receiving touchdowns. He ranks seventh on the National Football League’s all-time list for receiving yards.
Smith, 37, went out quietly on Sunday with three catches for 34 yards in the 27-10 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium and did not reach the end zone.
“I wasn’t going to concern myself with getting more passes or going out like Kobe (Bryant), anything like that,” Smith said. “Just go play. That’s what I did.”
Earlier this week, Smith said he was “89 percent sure” that Sunday would be his final game, and cameras followed him closely throughout Sunday’s contest.
Baltimore’s season ended with two straight losses, including last week’s gut-wrenching 31-27 loss at Pittsburgh which eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs.
“Reality is going to hit us at some point that we don’t have him,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “What a player, what a competitor. It’s a tough reality.”
”Legendary player,“ said fellow Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace. ”I was just telling him, ‘You can play a couple of more years if you want to. Let’s just keep it going.’
“I wish I had more time with him, but when you have greatness around you, you just absorb whatever you can get from him.”
Smith leads all active NFL receivers with 51 100-yard receiving games, which ranks fourth all-time.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to be around him every day,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “He never took anything for granted. He showed our guys how to compete and play the game. One of the highlights of my coaching career.”
Smith nearly retired in 2015 but an Achilles injury in November of that year prompted him to reconsider. He came back for another standout season in 2016.
”I’ll miss these guys,“ Smith said. ”But, when they’re in training camp and I‘m not, I’ll be hanging out at the pool, doing a lot of other things, like going to Disneyland in September. I hear it’s real slow then.
“And, just being a dad. I have lot to look forward to.”
Editing by Larry Fine