In December, Steve Smith announced that he would not be retiring after the 2015 season ended, as he originally said, but that he would instead return to play in 2016. This will be Steve Smith's 16th season in the NFL and his third with the Ravens. During his Ravens tenure, he has been the #1 receiver on the depth chart. Will that stay the same in 2016 though?
Steve Smith is 37. There's only been one receiver in the history of the NFL to play at the level of a number one receiver at that age and his name was Jerry Rice, who you might also know as the greatest wide receiver ever. It's a pretty exclusive club. It also doesn't help that Smith will be coming off of an Achilles injury. He also has to deal with Kamar Aiken, who performed admirably in Steve's absence, Breshad Perriman, who has the potential to become a formidable deep threat, and Mike Wallace, who might have a renaissance year with Joe Flacco throwing the ball to him.
But this is Steve Smith we're talking about here. He was overlooked in the draft because of his small size and no one thought that he'd ever be anything more than a return man. 15 years later he's a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, one of three NFL receivers to win a triple crown, the Panthers' all-time leader in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, the most prolific short receiver in NFL history, 11th all-time in receiving yards (and he can jump into the top 10 with another 70), and only 39 catches away from joining the 1,000 catch club. Simply put, if anyone has the tenacity to do this, it's Steve Smith.
Steve Smith has a lot of work in front of him if he wants to keep his job as the Ravens' #1 receiver. But if he can succeed in 2016, it'll be another accomplishment in Steve's already legendary career.