Five things I’ll miss about covering Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who is expected to retire after Sunday’s game:
1. His candor
We ask athletes and other public figures to be honest and open. But when they give us their true thoughts, we often blast them if we don’t agree with their opinion. Smith didn’t worry about giving politically correct answers. Ask Smith a question, and he told you exactly what he thought. He kept it real in interviews, and on social media. I loved that.
2. The casual conversations
Stopping by Smith’s locker meant you never knew where the conversation would lead. You would start off talking about next week’s opponent, and end up talking about fatherhood or social issues. Smith has never lived in a vacuum, thinking almost exclusively about football. He thinks about life. That’s why I think he’ll do well in whatever he chooses, and why he may miss football less than he anticipates.
3. His clothes
Smith is a stylish dresser. He has a collection of hats I really admire. Whenever he got off the team bus at the stadium and walked to the locker room, he looked like a guy who should have theme music playing in the background.
4. His expressions
The look Smith would give if you asked him a lazy question? Priceless. No athlete I’ve covered could smirk quite like Smith.
5. Spinning the football
Smith’s signature spinning of the football after catching a pass became his calling card. The way it infuriated defensive backs amused me. Hope Smith does it again one day – after he makes a speech in Canton, Ohio.