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Monday, August 10, 2015, 1:32pm
When the Panthers cut him, veteran wide receiver Steve L Smith said he was only planning on playing one more year for them anyway. Moving to Baltimore pushed that plan back a year. Via Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com, the Ravens wide receiver announced that he was retiring at the end of this season. While the 36-year-old wideout is still productive (79 catches for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns), he said he’s been thinking about this for months. He came into the league as a third-rounder from Utah, and made an immediate impact for the 2001 Panthers, returning the opening kickoff of the season for a touchdown and earning Pro Bowl honors as a return man. He made five Pro Bowls total, and overcame the stigma of beating up teammate Ken Lucas during practice to become somewhat of a leader with the Panthers. Of course, he was still sort of high-maintenance, which had as much to do with his release as financial concerns.
Smith has put together an incredible career, ranking 14th on the all-time receiving yards list (13,262) and 18th in receptions (915). His fire as a player defined him, allowing him to overcome his lack of size and status to create a long and lucrative career. The Ravens are already attempting a youth movement at the position and the hope is Breshad Perriman, Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken begin to emerge this season.
Posted by Brandon Niles
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 1:50pm
Steve L Smith came back strong last season, putting up over 1,000 yards on 79 receptions in his first year away from Carolina. He had six touchdowns and was easily the most consistent option for quarterback Joe Flacco all year. Smith is 36 years old but showed last season that he can still get downfield and that he still has that competitive fire that has helped him become a WR1 in the league despite lacking ideal size.
Smith will once again be the most proven receiver in Baltimore, which should mean that his starting job and targets aren’t likely to reduce. Additionally, his new offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman, helped Chicago’s receivers put up big fantasy numbers the last couple of years. Smith should benefit from some young talent added around him in rookies Maxx Williams and Breshad Perriman, and while his upside may be limited, Smith is as proven as it gets and has the type of mentality that makes it hard to bet against him.
At 36, Smith has been around a long time and he was often a feast or famine type of fantasy player last season. He blew up at the beginning of the year with four 100 plus yard outings in his first six games, but then didn’t reach the century mark again until the playoff win over the Steelers. With that in mind, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to produce those early season monster games again, and that he may settle back into the kind of supporting role veterans often take.
Smith isn’t likely to be a WR1 on a consistent basis this year, but he remains the most proven player in the Ravens’ passing game and showed last year he has enough in the tank to remain productive. With limited other options, expect a similar number of targets for the veteran, and he could be a nice value as a reserve WR3 on your roster with his ADP in the 9th and 10th round.
2015 Strength of Schedule - BAL
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2014 Game Stats