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Steve Smith Retires in Way Only Steve Smith Can Retire

He wrote he would no longer be antagonizing defensive backs.

by Sean Newell
Jan 6 2017, 3:05pm

© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Steve Smith hinted that Sunday's game against the Bengals would be the last of his career. Smith then confirmed it immediately following Baltimore's 27-10 loss to Cincinnati, tearfully saying "that's it" to CBS's Jenny Dell. And now he's made it official in a way only a man who's told another man to "ice up, son" could. In a letter to the league, team, and players association, Smith wrote "I...will no longer be antagonizing defensive backs. I am retiring from the National Football League."

Smith played 16 angry, shit-talking years in the NFL and finished 12th all-time in receptions with 1,028 and seventh in receiving yards with 14,697. He will be remembered for his production, his speed, and, yes, his eagerness to shit-talk anyone within earshot.

A year after he told the injured Aqib Talib to "ice up" after a particularly contentious game while still with Carolina, Smith was let go by the Panthers in 2014 and found himself playing in Baltimore. In the first week of that season, he and Joe Flacco hooked up for an 80-yard touchdown and he immediately found a camera and sent a message to the Panthers ahead of their meeting a few weeks later: "If you fucking think I can't play, you gonna find out week four, motherfucker." He didn't stop at DBs, he'd shit-talk an entire organization.

In that 2014 game, Smith scored two touchdowns as the Ravens beat the Panthers 38-10.