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Ravens’ Smith will not keep playing until he is 40

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Steve Smith won’t be challenging defensive backs into his 40s.

The five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver celebrated his 36th birthday this month as he heads into his second season with the Ravens and his 15th season in the NFL.

Asked when he started getting questions about his age, Smith replied, “Oh, probably after the height questions stopped. I always have someone questioning the height, prototype or age. It’s always something.”

Unlike Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, Smith has no intentions of playing past age 40. Rice retired when he was 42 years old in 2005 after setting NFL records with 1,549 catches, 22,895 yards and 208 touchdowns.

“Jerry Rice is obviously the greatest wide receiver to ever play, and I really don’t have the family structure to chase 40, to be honest,” Smith said. “I have got a lot of things on my to-do list that don’t have anything to do with football. I’m going to take it day by day, but I will not be playing until I’m 40.”

Smith is entering the second year of a three-year, $11 million contract.

Smith immediately declared after the Ravens’ AFC divisional round playoff loss to the New England Patriots that he wanted to come back for this season.

While driving to his home in Charlotte, N.C., Smith said his thoughts never wavered about playing again.

“I was pretty sure I was coming back,” Smith said. “I left here knowing what my plans were, and my family knew what the plans were. I think age is a number. Right now, I feel good and I’m playing well, so I think that 36 is good.”

A year after being cut by the Carolina Panthers after 13 seasons, Smith led the Ravens with 79 receptions for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns. He started every game for the Ravens last season and also caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.

“Yeah, I’m 36, and I remember last year when I signed here you guys weren’t expecting anything from a 35-year-old,” said Smith, who has 915 career receptions for 13,262 yards and 73 touchdowns. “And now you can pick on me because I’m 36. I’m just going to play football and practice.

“I think I look halfway decent. I think there are teams that probably drafted a wide receiver hoping that they could get a guy fresh out of college to put up 1,000 yards like I did.”

–Wide receiver Michael Campanaro’s quadriceps tear isn’t severe enough to sideline him for the season. A magnetic resonance imaging determined that there was a slight tear. Coach John Harbaugh said Campanaro won’t require surgery and should be able to return by training camp after rehabilitating the injury.

Campanaro was hurt Wednesday. He battled hamstring injuries as a rookie last year, catching seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in four games.

“No one is more disappointed and frustrated with it than Camp, but he has been working hard,” Harbaugh said. “So he’ll just have to get that right and be ready for training camp.”

— The Ravens agreed to terms with veteran cornerback Cassius Vaughn on a one-year contract, according to The Baltimore Sun. It’s a veteran minimum deal worth up to $825,000, which includes a $745,000 base salary, a $50,000 bonus for making the 53-man roster and a $30,000 bonus for playing 37 percent of the defensive snaps.

Vaughn played last season for the Detroit Lions. The 27-year-old started five of 13 games, intercepted two passes and made 18 tackles. For his career, Vaughn has 142 tackles, seven interceptions (he returned two for touchdowns) and a forced fumble.

The Ravens waived-injured rookie cornerback Julian Wilson. It’s a precursor to Wilson being placed on injured reserve because of his season-ending broken leg during rookie minicamp that required surgery. Wilson has to clear waivers, though, to be officially placed on injured reserve.


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