Baltimore Ravens give Steve Smith time to mull future


Steve Smith's debut season with the Ravens was a success. The team is giving him space before he decides what's next.

Smith finished his 14th season with 79 receptions for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns. After a 100-yard effort against the Steelers in the Wild Card Round, he added three receptions and a touchdown in Saturday's divisional playoff loss to the Patriots.

Smith, 35, wrote on Instagram he was looking forward to next season with the Ravens, but coach John Harbaugh said Smith should take some more time before a final decision is made about his playing future. Smith has two years left on his deal with the Ravens.

"Like to keep him here. Steve has expressed to me now the desire to want to come back," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, according to The Baltimore Sun. "And one thing that Ozzie mentioned to him, which made a lot of sense, is to take three weeks. Take three weeks and get a chance to take a nap, figuratively, and kind of decide how you feel.

"But Steve was brimming with enthusiasm last time I talked to him to come back and play a role, whatever role that might be. He doesn't have to be a role where he's playing every snap or anything like that, but he looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to me. It's up to Steve, really, in the end -- how he feels and if he thinks he can do it physically."

Smith's first season in Baltimore can be split into two parts. In the first six weeks, he was one of the NFL's most productive receivers with 35 catches for 574 yards and four touchdowns. He leveled out in the final 10 games, however, managing just 44 catches for 492 yards and two scores.

That falloff likely explains why Harbaugh made a point to say that Smith didn't have to be in a full-time role in 2015. But Harbaugh's also right about Smith having something left in the tank -- the veteran gave the mighty Darrelle Revis all he could handle on Saturday in Foxborough.

Not bad for a self-described "old man."

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