Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens
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Steve Smith Announces He Will Retire After 2015 Season

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens

One of the last of a dying breed will be departing the NFL after this season, upon news that Steve Smith Sr. will retire at the end of 2015.

A fiery competitor to say the least, Smith didn’t make many friends over his career, constantly picking fights – both physical and mental – with opposing defenders, fellow players and, frankly, anyone who dared to get in his face.

What some called a serious “game face” others dismissed as “small man syndrome” on the part of the 5’9” Smith, but for almost a decade and a half in Carolina, he was the face of how football was meant to be played.

Unable to reach a mutual agreement with the franchise after the 2013 season, Smith left the Panthers and joined the Baltimore Ravens, fitting right in to an organisation and scheme that has historically been able to squeeze the most out of its ageing wideouts.

While some expected him to merely play a supporting role in Joe Flacco’s vertical offense, that simply isn’t Steve Smith’s style. The 36-year-old started all 16 games, hauling in 79 catches, 6 touchdowns and yet another 1000-yard season through the air.

Smith will retire with a motza of Panthers franchise records including, but not limited to, the most career receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

In classic Steve Smith fashion, the receiver was hardly sentimental when discussing his decision, instead claiming he will “wound, puncture and damage a lot of people on his way out.”

The move places some pressure on Baltimore’s wide receiving corps after this season, too.

First-round pick Breshad Perriman will need to exceed expectations in his rookie season to be in contention for the number one role next year, because outside of him, the Ravens will lack proven talent once Smith leaves.

Free agency or another early-round draftee may beckon if the Ravens wish to continue fostering their deep threat offense.

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