Steve Smith not worried about risk returning punts

The old man on the Ravens' block will continue to pull extra duty.

While some my quiver at the notion of No. 1 receiver Steve Smith Sr. handling punt return duties, the wideout isn't worried about the added injury risk.

"Football has a degree of injuries and I don't think really on any play there's a higher percentage or a lesser percentage," Smith said, via the Baltimore Sun. "If you're going to get hurt, you're going to get hurt in this game. That's just a fact."

Smith owned punt duties in Week 1 and will keep them moving forward this season.

Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate suffered a quad injury returning punts last week, which wasn't overly serious. It's the added injury risk, however, that some fans fret about with it comes to star players like Smith or Steelers receiver Antonio Brown or Patriots' Julian Edelman taking on return duties.

The 36-year-old Smith dismissed the risk as hogwash.

"Punt returns are actually one of those plays where you actually can control a lot more than people anticipate," Smith said. "The player understands when he's out there on the punt return, I can fair catch the ball, I cannot catch it or I can return it. I have options. As a receiver, I have no options. I either catch it or I don't. I get hit or I don't. I can't fair catch a pass and not get hit. That's kind of the distinct difference with the ability to control things on punt returns that you don't have the luxury to do at certain positions."

Placing vital players in the return game is a give-and-take. Sure there is an injury risk, but that exists every time a player steps on a football field, whether in a game or at practice, returning punts or running routes.

The Ravens believe Smith is their best chance to earn extra yards in special teams. With every yard precious, they'll take on the added risk of putting the veteran back to catch punts.

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