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Ravens WR Smith to retire after 2015 season

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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., in his 15th NFL year, announced Monday he will retire after the 2015 season.

Smith, 36, spent the first 13 years of his career with the Carolina Panthers before signing a three-year contract with the Ravens in March 2014.

“I feel like this is the best place, if this is going to be the end, this will be the best place to end,” Smith told reporters Monday. “I think it’s always easier when you know you have a finish line. You get to let things loose. You just do things where you’re like, ‘Man, whatever happens.’ You just kind of let the chips fall where they may.”

The five-time Pro Bowler has compiled 13,262 career receiving yards and 73 touchdowns on 915 catches through 14 seasons. He had eight season with 1,000-plus yards receiving, including last year — his first in Baltimore, leading the Ravens in receptions (79) and receiving yards (1,065). Smith ranks 18th all-time in career receptions.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has talked with Smith about reducing his role this season to keep him fresher later in the year.

“He’s going out on his terms,” Harbaugh said Monday. “He’s going out on the top of his game.”

Teammates reacted to Smith’s announcement.

“Hey, I think it’s cool, and he has had a great career,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “I think it is awesome to spend time with him at the end of his career and to see if we can win it for him going out.”

“Remember what happened the last time we had a player like this retire,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said about Ray Lewis retiring following the 2012 Super Bowl-winning season. “Steve Smith is one hell of a guy and maybe we can send him out with something special.”


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