Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was smiling when he said it, but he sounded very open to finding a place for Steve Smith Sr. on the 2017 Ravens if he changed his mind about retirement.
“I have not given up hope that Steve Smith is going to come walking in here in September,” Bisciotti said during his “State of the Ravens” press conference. “He is probably not coming in August. We will see about that character. I would not count him out.”
Could Smith have a change of heart when fall draws closer, and the itch to play becomes harder to ignore? Yes, it could happen. But should the Ravens expect that to happen? No way.
Smith already knows he’s going to get the itch, but he doesn’t sound inclined to scratch. He has already filed his retirement papers in typical Smith style.
Also, check out his Tweet from Jan. 8
No saltiness here! I'm retired, Double digits in millions n the bank! Get 2 play wit my kids & planning multiple family vacations I'm Good https://t.co/Ga5O3dJWNp— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) January 8, 2017
So for the next few months, the bigger question isn’t whether Smith will return, but whether the Ravens can build an effective wide receiving corps without him. Breshad Perriman needs to improve his route running and become more sure-handed.
General manager Ozzie Newsome said finding a “complimentary” receiver as one of the Ravens’ biggest needs. The Ravens have the option of picking up Mike Wallace’s $4.75 million contract for next season, but will they, especially if they acquire several receivers during the draft and free agency?
Smith had a great 16-year career, and at age 37, he doesn’t have to worry about the Ravens’ offseason issues. Smith’s offseason can last the rest of his life. But if Smith changes his mind, Bisciotti sounds willing to write Smith another check.