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Steve Smith Sr. waves goodbye as Baltimore Ravens' season ends

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. confirmed his retirement following Sunday's loss to the Bengals. His career ends after 1,031 catches for 14,731 yards and 81 receiving TDs. He ranks seventh on the NFL's all-time list for receiving yards. File Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
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CINCINNATI -- Steve Smith Sr. said reality began to hit him on Sunday morning when he received a text from his wife, Angie, wishing him luck before the final game of his 16-year career.
"My family wasn't here, because if they were here I would've lost it," Smith said. "It's over, it's done. I know it's my time."
Smith confirmed his retirement following Sunday's loss to the Bengals. His career ends after 1,031 catches for 14,731 yards and 81 receiving TDs. He ranks seventh on the NFL's all-time list for receiving yards.
Smith, 37, went out quietly on Sunday with three catches for 34 yards in the 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium and did not reach the end zone.
But, he wasn't looking to make a big splash in his final game.
"I wasn't going to concern myself with getting more passes or going out like Kobe (Bryant), anything like that," Smith said. "Just go play. That's what I did."
Earlier this week, Smith said he was "89 percent sure" that Sunday would be his final game. Cameras followed him closely throughout Sunday's contest and several Bengals players made it a point to greet him afterwards.
Baltimore's season ended with two straight losses, including last week's gut-wrenching 31-27 loss at Pittsburgh which eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs.
Now, quarterback Joe Flacco must prepare to be without a future Hall of Fame wide-out next season.
"Reality is going to hit us at some point that we don't have him," Flacco said. "We have other guys who just have to be themselves. They don't have to be Steve Smith. But what a player, what a competitor. It's a tough reality."
Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace tweeted a photo of he and Smith in the locker room following Sunday's loss stating "It's been a pleasure, my G".
"Legendary player," Wallace said. "I was just telling him, 'You can play a couple of more years if you want to. Let's just keep it going.' I wish I had more time with him, but when you have greatness around you, you just absorb whatever you can get from him."
Smith leads all active NFL receivers with 51 100-yard receiving games, which ranks fourth all-time.
"It's been a privilege and an honor to be around him every day," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "He never took anything for granted. He showed our guys how to compete and play the game. One of the highlights of my coaching career."
While he wasn't much of a factor in Sunday's game, Smith did manage to get in a couple of minor skirmishes with the AFC North rival Bengals, a testament to his competitive nature.
But, in the closing moments as teammates including Flacco began to come up to him on the bench, the finality became more evident.
"I tried not to get emotional, but I did," Smith said.
Smith nearly retired in 2015 but an Achilles injury in November of that year prompted him to reconsider. He came back for another standout season in 2016.
"I'll miss these guys," Smith said. "But, when they're in training camp and I'm not, I'll be hanging out at the pool, doing a lot of other things, like going to Disneyland in September. I hear it's real slow then. And, just being a dad. I have lot to look forward to."
Steve Smith Sr. waves goodbye as Baltimore Ravens' season ends Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 5:09 PM Rating: 5

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