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Steve Smith’s career begins to spark Hall of Fame talk

Smith Getty Images

Receiver Steve Smith has a long way to go before he joins the NFL’s elite when it comes to receptions, yards, and touchdowns.  But if he does, then he’ll be in the discussion for Canton.

So why not start it now?

“I might be a little presumptuous, but he could be one of the representatives for this team in the Hall of Fame eventually,” coach Ron Rivera recently said, via the Charlotte Observer.  “I think he’s earned it.  To join the clubs that he has as far as total yardage, 100-yard receiving games, it speaks well, first of all, for his longevity.  And second, for his ability to make these kind of plays and do these things year in and year out.”

But Smith won’t take a page from the John Abraham playbook.  Or anyone else’s.

“If it comes, that’s great,” Smith said.  “I’m not going to Donovan McNabb myself.  I’m not going to say what I deserve.  I think what I deserve is the opportunities that I’ve gotten by working hard.  But I wouldn’t say I deserve it.  I mean, stats are there. I just want to play.  I enjoy playing. . . .  The Hall of Fame used to be one of the top things on my list of goals.  But sometimes if you’re so focused on goals, you start to miss other things.  So I’m enjoying not missing the other things. And the things you discuss when you’re done playing, I’ll allow that to be my focus when I have all that idle time.”

Smith, 33, currently is 32nd on the all-time reception list with 759, and 26th in receiving yardage with 11,277.  But even if he gets to 1,000 catches and/or 14,000 yards, the absence of a Super Bowl ring and the cluster of receivers with big numbers and no titles who haven’t gotten in could keep Smith out.

Then there’s the issue of Smith’s fiery nature.  Though the way he behaves shouldn’t matter (just like it shouldn’t matter with Warren Sapp, but many believe it will), Smith on two separate occasions crossed the line by attacking a teammate.  That could be hard for voters to overlook.

The best move is to defer the discussion until Smith’s career is over.  If he gets toward the top of the statistical stack — and if he ends up with a Super Bowl ring on his finger — maybe he gets in.

Either way, the verbal slap at Donovan McNabb can’t hurt.

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25 Responses to “Steve Smith’s career begins to spark Hall of Fame talk”
  1. CKL says: Dec 16, 2012 9:19 AM

    LOL at the “McNabb myself” comment.

  2. shackdelrio says: Dec 16, 2012 9:21 AM

    Look at the receivers from the last 20 years that aren’t in. Smith has no chance.

  3. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 16, 2012 9:25 AM

    Smith said. “I’m not going to Donovan McNabb myself. ”

    We need a Hall of Fame for classic quotes.

  4. j0esixpack says: Dec 16, 2012 9:34 AM

    You could spark a lot of speculation of active players

    Smith, with 12 years under his belt has 759 catches and over 11,000 yards

    Someone like Wes Welker, with just 9 years in has 745 receptions, over 8,500 yards in 3 years less playing time.

    It’s probably premature for all of them to be having this speculation

  5. lennydpocketqb says: Dec 16, 2012 9:39 AM

    Please let him in the hall for coining the phrase, “Donovan McNabb myself”.

  6. sufferingbirdsfan says: Dec 16, 2012 9:47 AM

    Dis McNabb all you want Steve but good not great stats, 5 pro bowls, top five maybe but never the best player at your position any season you played, and of course reaching one bowl and not getting it done against the Patriots sure sounds familiar…

  7. panthers34 says: Dec 16, 2012 9:48 AM

    Since their keeping Chris Carter, Andre Reed, and Tim Brown out, it is probably going to be a long wait. What is in his favor is that he played in a rushing offense without HOF talent at QB. Imagine what his numbers would be if he played with Brady? This guy is a midget but is doubled ALL the time, one of the most feared weapons of the last decade.

  8. east96st says: Dec 16, 2012 9:54 AM

    Unless the HOF increases the number of players they admit each year, and I think given the large number of players who should be in and aren’t they just might do that, Smith has no shot. Too many WRs who played when DBs were actually allowed to play defense and their QBs had to scramble for their lives aren’t in. All the WRs playing today will have to have big numbers because they had it so much easier. Smith will be another in a long line of HOF oversights who will be penalized for playing too much of their career on a bad team and/or with a bad QB. Add on the teammate beat downs and he ain’t getting in without a ticket. Great quote, though. THAT should be in the HOF.

  9. tennesseeoilers says: Dec 16, 2012 9:54 AM

    Just when we thought defensive coordinators had Cam Newton figured out, he’s gone on a 6-game tear that surpasses anything he did his stunning rookie year. What does that mean for Steve Smith? In the time it takes him to reach those Hall of Fame numbers, he’s more likely to get a Super Bowl ring than we thought even just weeks ago.

    – Titans Fan in Charlotte

  10. bigdingyguy says: Dec 16, 2012 10:07 AM

    Shack makes a solid point; but I think he should be on the ballot when his time comes. He is a player who inspires fear, who you have to put a safety deep to keep in check. When I think “Hall of Fame” I think of a player who disrupts an offensive or defensive gameplan on a weekly basis. Even though teams adjust to account for him, he still puts up thousand yard seasons year after year.

  11. bradygazelle says: Dec 16, 2012 10:08 AM

    I’d say he has a puncher’s chance.

  12. klink6224 says: Dec 16, 2012 10:20 AM

    It’s funny how one quote can instantly change your opinion on someone. As and Eagles fan seeing that McNabb dig I totally LOL’d. Awesome job Steve!

  13. rajbais says: Dec 16, 2012 10:22 AM

    “I’m not going to Donovan McNabb myself?”

    I love this guy even more!!!

    Steve, you are a Hall of Famer!!!

    The problem is that the current institution should be known as the “Hall of Why Can’t Cris Carter Get In” because after every Super Bowl weekend voting process the question always asked is “why isn’t Cris Carter in?”

    Nobody voting in Canton wants to admit that they use numbers for other players like running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks, but implicitly do so by blurting it in a conversation in which they just were not thinking. Just go ask those who voted in Ozzie Newsome, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Eric Dickerson, Curtis Martin, and Warren Moon. The problem is that they are going to act hypocritical and use the “stat problem excuse” and “this is not fantasy football” scare tactic while letting QB’s get away with it when numbers can justify wide receiver enshrinement with stats like yards and touchdowns. As much as I love Wes Welker, but receptions has now become an overrated stat since the implementation of the 5-yard rule in 2004. You can now get more yardage and touchdowns than ever and respective numbers like 13, 000 and 130 are good minimums for those seeking enshrinement. I see no one questioning Drew Brees and Peyton Manning’s over-inflated stat based candidacies when their positional stats can create the same dilemma.

    It unfortunately will stay as the “Hall of Why Can’t Cris Carter Get In” for a while and that is why we need a new Hall of Fame center. One where the voters are explicit and honest enough to say that numbers do matter and define greatness. One where the voters will not be lazy to point out how numbers originated and got as high as they did.

    It shall be called “The Modern Pro Football Hall of Fame”. Like Canton, it will be located at the place but it was originated at, the Milford Plaza Hotel in New York City. Inside the hotel will be a museum where the candidates can be enshrined and commemorated with more realistic looking busts. Plus, the Milford Plaza Hotel could use the museum as a way to significantly upgrade the hotel. It is getting 3 out of 5 stars at trip advisor.com and 2.5 stars out of 5 at yelp.com for a reason.

    It’s time that the old stuffy people and outdated methodology influenced voters be shown that there is a real process that can be less frequently disputed. Plus, why not have it in a place like NYC where old stuffy and those who can’t think fast don’t belong.

  14. fafafuey says: Dec 16, 2012 10:32 AM

    Pretty amazing numbers considering his QBs over the years. Wrinkle Peete, delhommme, Moore etc etc.

  15. acmepackers says: Dec 16, 2012 10:32 AM

    If this article ended in a tie, McNabb would not know it.

  16. sportsmeccabi says: Dec 16, 2012 10:33 AM

    I’m a Carolina fan, but I don’t think he is a hall of famer. I believe he is a hall of fame type talent, but the last few years of shoddy quarterback play seriously took a hit on his numbers.

    I hope they let him in because based of pure talent and playing making ability, he is a hall of famer.

    But there is such a log jam at receiver because the voters keep bypassing some guys such as Cris Carter and Andre Reed.

  17. cropslx says: Dec 16, 2012 10:34 AM

    j0esixpack says:
    Dec 16, 2012 9:34 AM
    You could spark a lot of speculation of active players

    Smith, with 12 years under his belt has 759 catches and over 11,000 yards

    Someone like Wes Welker, with just 9 years in has 745 receptions, over 8,500 yards in 3 years less playing time.

    It’s probably premature for all of them to be having this speculation

    Give Steve Smith a quarterback like Brady and his numbers would be outrageous!! Just Remember he played with Jake “Game Manager” Delhome. Also he doesn’t have the rest of the supporting cast Welker has!! For YEARS and YEARS Panther fans have wanted another receiver to take the double team off Smith!! Oh and don’t forget the wasted season with Jimmy Clausen.

  18. mwm367 says: Dec 16, 2012 10:43 AM

    Steve Smith will get in. But right now, like he said, all he wants to do is play. Let him play. Haters will always hate. So be it. If he doesn’t deserve respect, then why does every team double team him all game long? Leave him in single coverage and he will eat up a defense. Hell, he even gets open in double coverage. As for his attitude, How many other NFL players gave $100,000 dollars to the victims fund for the shooting at that theater earlier this year? Don’t go away made haters, just go away.

  19. pftcensorssuck says: Dec 16, 2012 10:49 AM

    “I’m not going to Donovan McNabb myself”
    ———————————————————-
    One of the best football quotes ever heard.

    *BOOM!!!!!!!!*

  20. tombradyallday says: Dec 16, 2012 10:51 AM

    my opinion is, stats are are a great thing but i look at his size hes been a number 1 receiver for over 10 years and hes 5’9. that speaks for itself. hes dominant

  21. myeaglescantwin says: Dec 16, 2012 10:57 AM

    pound for pound the best WR in the NFL.

    if you disagree with that, you obviously havent been watching.

  22. weekendatberniemadoffs says: Dec 16, 2012 11:08 AM

    Won the triple crown back in 2005, a stat overlooked by most.

  23. thebigtim2012 says: Dec 16, 2012 11:27 AM

    As a pats fan living in south Carolina I’ve seen this guy and his horrible team attitude for a few years now. Ive always disliked him. The mcnabb quote raised him up a few notches

  24. melikefootball says: Dec 16, 2012 12:12 PM

    Becareful, what if Smith’s anger managment classes don’t hold and he decides to trash all the HOF busts if he does not get in.

  25. godofwine330 says: Dec 16, 2012 12:24 PM

    I have always respected Smitty for his hard work and his fiery nature that drove him to success. He has matured immensely in the past 4 years plus and it would be great to see him walk the stage as a Hall of Famer, but as someone said, with Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed still waiting he may have to wait until the seniors committee. Either way, I liked how he handled this – the turning Donovan McNabb into a verb for efforts of driving his point home was nice.

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