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Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin: Steve Smith is a Hall of Famer

Steve Smith has been one of the most explosive young wideouts in NFL history, one of the most productive old receivers in NFL history and perhaps the greatest small wide receiver in NFL history.

As the 2016 Pro Bowl captains, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin recently vouched for Smith as a legend who will some day join them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"No doubt I see him there," Irvin said at the Pro Bowl, via the Ravens' official website. "He's an incredible player, he's been an incredible player for a long time. There's no doubt in my mind that, one day, he shall definitely wear a gold jacket."

"That's a guy I feel is going to be a Hall of Famer," Rice added. "I just love watching him whenever he puts that football uniform on."

With 68 more yards in his 2016 encore season, Smith will become just 11th player ever to reach 14,000 career receiving yards.

After watching Cris Carter (2013), Andre Reed (2014), Tim Brown (2015) and Marvin Harrison (2016) break the logjam at wide receiver over the past half-decade, the 36-year-old star told the Dan Patrick Show last month that his Hall of Fame chances have increased.

"It's part of the reason why I'm coming back," Smith said of reaching 14,000 yards. "It's one of the things to cross off the Christmas list."

Those who have witnessed Smith's game-wrecking ability year-in and year-out inherently understand he will be a lead-pipe lock for Hall of Fame induction within a decade of retirement.

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