Steve Smith has always used perceived slights as motivation. And when they weren’t real, he has invented them.
So it stands to reason that the now-Ravens wide receiver is latching onto the idea that his best football was behind him (which is the Panthers’ public stance, after they cut him), and using it as fuel for a fire that’s always burned hot anyway.
“I love competition,” Smith said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “Obviously, you [reporters] seem to always have something to say and have a comment, so I love to read those. And I’d like to serve a little humble pie to you and do a little better than what you think. . . .
“There aren’t too many 35-year-olds that are getting recruited to play for five or six other teams. I look at that and say: ‘I must be doing something right.’”
Smith said he chose the Ravens among offers which included the Patriots, Seahawks and Chargers, among others.
And the 35-year-old has not suddenly become more humble in his approach to defensive backs, saying: ““The [defensive back] that’s going to be sitting in front of me, he’s going to find out how much I have left in the tank, and he’ll find out real quick.”
The Ravens clearly think he can add something that was missing to their passing game, which looked out of balance and lost without Anquan Boldin last year. Smith caught 64 balls for 745 yards and four scores last year, down for his standards, but still solid.
“I think he fits in; he’s our kind of guy, in a lot of ways,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I just like what he stands for. I like the competitor. I like the fire in him, the toughness. Watching him out at practice, he’s still a really good player. There’s no doubt. He’s going to help us a lot. I’m excited about him.”
Smith has also shown a low threshold for foolishness over his career, applying his own high work standards to those around him (sometimes more than his bosses cared for). If he adds some gravity to a franchise that’s looked ridiculous in recent weeks, that can only help as well.