Steve Smith Wrote the NFL Commissioner the Most Steve Smith Retirement Letter Ever
Dear defensive backs: You're welcome
Surefire Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Smith retired from the NFL last week, which was sad because Steve Smith was the last of his kind still suiting up every Sunday. The kind of receiver who wasn’t bred in the hands-off, penalty-markers-everywhere era of football. No, Steve Smith defined smash-mouth football. There are disadvantages that come with being 5-foot-9 in just about every sport, but you couldn’t tell that to the Panthers and Ravens wideout. He went at defensive linebackers like they were schoolyard bullies, and trash-talked and out-played defensive backs into oblivion. To best Steve Smith was to, as David, take down one Goliath while another similarly sized beast held your arms behind your back.
Naturally, his numbers reflect that. At the point of his retirement, Smith, a native of Los Angeles, finished his career in the following spots on the all-time receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns lists: 7th, 12th and 25th. Those stats are even more impressive when you consider the fact that he was never part of some fancy, era-defining quarterback-wideout tandem, like Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison or Matt Ryan-Julio Jones. He once said that Jake Delhomme was the best quarterback he’s ever played with, and in Baltimore, his signal-caller was Joe Flacco. Flacco won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2013, but has yet to cross the bridge into the “elite” conversation.
Given that me-against-the-world type of career, Steve Smith has always played with a certain level of aggression. He made a reference to that in his excellent, brief farewell note to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.