Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. told ESPN on Aug. 10 he will retire after the 2015 NFL season.
Steve Smith, Sr. will be retiring after the 2015 NFL season.
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The 36-year-old Smith told ESPN he wants to focus on his family when he retires. He made the announcement during Baltimore Ravens training camp on Aug. 10:
"I feel like it's time. I'm going to retire after this, go home and be a dad and look back and enjoy things.
"I don't want to hold on. Jerry Rice is the best wide receiver to ever play. But I don't believe that chasing whatever it is to chase for four more years would be conducive to my family or be conducive to me.
"I would be having to give up something. I would be jeopardizing something. I don't know what it is, and I have any intentions of finding out.
"If this is going to be the end, this is going to be the best place to end. I think it's always easier when you have a finish line. You get to let things loose."
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told ESPN Smith would be ending his career on a high note.
"He certainly earned the right to go out on his own terms," Harbaugh said. "If you look at what he's doing, he's going out at the top of his game. There is no question about that."
"Remember what happened the last time we had a player like this retire?" linebacker Terrell Suggs told The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Steve Smith is one hell of a guy and maybe we can send him out with something special."
"He had a great career," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco told Zrebiec. "I think it is awesome to spend time with him at the end of his career and to see if we can win it for him going out."
Smith spent his first 13 NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The team released him in March 2014 to free up salary-cap space. The Ravens signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million deal a day after he left Carolina, per ESPN.
Smith made a huge impact in his first season in Baltimore. He caught for 1,065 yards and 79 receptions, per ESPN.
Zrebiec says Smith will forego the final year of his contract with the Ravens.
Smith chose Baltimore because of its proximity to Charlotte. His wife, Angie, and their four children live in the latter city. Their oldest son, Peyton, is a soccer player and incoming college freshman, per ESPN.
Smith told ESPN his son watched him on a regular basis. Now, it's his turn to act as spectator.
He also wants to spend more time with his youngest son, Steve, Jr. His other children are Baylee and Boston.
Angie Smith said her husband will make up for lost time with family once he retires. This was what she told The Baltimore Sun last Father's Day:
"There have been a lot of great things to come out of this, but it's been hard, too, with the challenge of being apart and traveling back and forth. Looking back over the years, there's a lot of things he's missed out on, obviously not because he chose that but just because of his job and his line of work.
"A lot of activities are on the weekends, and he's just not able to be there. Looking toward the future, he's talked about how important it is for him to be there for the rest of the time that he has with the kids."
Steve Smith, Sr. told Zrebiec back then work is easier than fatherhood:
"Work is so much easier than being a dad. It's just a juggling act. With football, I know exactly where I need to be. I know what route I need to run. But, man, there is no manual when you have a house full of (kids)."
Smith said he can play two to three more years, but made the decision to retire last spring, per ESPN.
He is entering his 15th NFL season. Smith and Tim Brown are the only players to amass at least 13,000 receiving yards and 4,000 return yards.
Smith's retirement will leave a leadership void with the Ravens. Ten of the 12 receivers on their 2015 roster are 26 years of age or younger, per The Baltimore Sun.
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