OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Steve Smith talks like a man ready to play his final game, though the Baltimore Ravens receiver has not completely closed the door on returning for a 17th NFL season.
The 37-year-old Smith will play in his 219th regular-season game Sunday at Cincinnati. He strongly indicated Wednesday that it will mark the end of a record-breaking career.
He said he’s “trying to get to Sunday without crying like a little kid.”
But Smith didn’t formally announce his retirement. Regarding the season finale Sunday, he said, “For 2016-17 and beyond, it’s probably my last game.”
Smith broke into the league in 2001 with Carolina and played with the Panthers for 13 seasons before coming to Baltimore in 2014. He announced his retirement before the start of the 2015 season, but after he tore his Achilles tendon in Week 7 decided to return for at least one more year.
Smith ranks seventh in NFL history with 14,697 yards receiving and ranks 12th with 1,028 receptions.