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Steve Smith makes decision on retirement


Steve Smith makes decision on retirement

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith says he will retire after the 2015 season – making the bombshell announcement following Monday’s practice.

Entering his 15th NFL season at age 36, Smith said he had been thinking about his future for months, and that he almost retired this spring. But he decided to return for one more season, and to leave the game on his terms.

“Me and my family, basically after this season, this is my last season,” Smith said. “I’m going to go home, and be Dad. I feel like it’s time.”

Smith told his teammates and coaches of his decision before making the announcement.

“Every time you do an interview at my age, people always ask, ‘How much longer do you want to play?”’, Smith said. “I feel like this is the best place to end.

“I don’t want to hold on. Jerry Rice is the best wide receiver to ever play. But I don’t believe chasing whatever there is to chase, for four more years, would be conducive to my family and conducive to me.”

Smith’s career has been brilliant – 915 receptions, 13,262 yards, and 73 touchdowns, with eight 1,000-yard seasons. He spent his first 13 NFL seasons with the Panthers, before joining the Ravens as a free agent in 2014. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has only been with Smith for one year, but said their relationship was already special.

“Probably one of the most fun players I’ve ever coached,” Harbaugh said. “Definitely a tone setter. He’s a pit bull. Forces everyone in practice to bring their A game or they’ll be humiliated.”

Smith is still the Ravens’ best receiver, coming off a 2014 season in which he caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns. 

Asked how his teammates reacted to his decision, Smith said, “A few guys panicked that I was shutting it down today. They were really supportive.”

Smith admitted it would be difficult to walk away, but that he was already preparing for the transition.

“Anytime you do something 15 years, plus four years of college, that’s 19, 20 years of football,” Smith said. “They will be a mourning process. They’ll be some parts of it where, it’s going to be tough. I’m not really nervous about retiring. I’m more nervous about what it looks like on the other side.”

Asked how much longer he thought he could play, Smith said, “Probably another two or three years.”  But Smith doesn’t want to. His decision sounded final. So whenever the Ravens’ season ends, expect Smith’s career to end, too.

MORE RAVENS: Webb expects opposing QBs to target him, says bring it on

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?