After 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, wide receiver Steve Smith will be putting on a different uniform for the first time in his career this fall.
Smith signed with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month after being released by the Panthers.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera believes that after 13 years in the NFL, Smith is beginning to slow down and doesn’t have the top-end speed that used to set him apart. However, Baltimore head coach John Harabugh still has plenty left to help the Ravens this fall.
“He’s a competitive guy. He’s very successful. He’s one of the great receivers in the history of the game,” Harbaugh said in an interview with PFT from the owner’s meetings in Orlando, Fla. “You know, I think that Steve’s fully capable of being his best with the Ravens and that’s what he plans on doing, that’s our expectations I’m excited about it.”
For a smaller receiver, Smith has been remarkably durable over his career. Smith has played in at least 14 games in 12 of his 13 seasons with the Panthers. Last season, Smith caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns as Carolina returned to the postseason for the first time since 2008.
With the Ravens, Smith expects to be a “complementary dude” in Baltimore’s offense.
“His role is going to be to help us score points, move the chains,” Harbaugh said. “You know, he’s unique, this whole thing about 3rd receiver, 2nd receiver, slot receiver, outside receiver he almost kind of debunks all of that. We’re going to try to put him in position to do the things he does well but he does a lot of things well.”
Being able to be a secondary option instead of the go-to guy could be the perfect fit for Smith at this stage in his career. Smith has frequently had to be the primary weapon for the Panthers’ passing game, which has lacked fellow play makers alongside Smith.
“He’s going to bring something to that wide receiver room, a little bit of experience,” Harbaugh said. “…The competitive fire, how to meet competitively, how to practice competitively. He’s going to help those guys.”