The Talk of Fame Network
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. ranks seventh in career all-purpose yardage, seventh in career catches and 12th in career receiving yards. With the former Carolina and Baltimore star retired, people now want to know the obvious: Is he a Hall-of-Fame player?
Good question. So we asked Smith when he appeared on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
"I mean, if I'm in there voting, yeah ... like yesterday," he said, laughing. "I mean, let's be honest. Nobody does not vote for themselves when they have a winning vote. Like if you're going to vote for yourself, the PCers would be like, 'Well, I hope so.' But if I'm voting, and it's behind closed doors, well, yeah. Of course.
"I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in there because I'm not part of that process, but I would say I have been a unique player. One of the few stats that I love reading, and that was pretty cool … is my stature. I'm 5-9. I'm not the tallest guy. I'm not a slot receiver. I played in the slot and outside ... predominantly outside. Just having that opportunity to display that I can play on the outside, and it doesn’t mean you have to be a certain height to do that. And I've been able to do that.
So I think that’s one of the things I enjoy when people read that …its like, wow, that’s a pretty cool stat that a lot of people kind of brush aside and don’t realize that I was the first player to do that. So I think that’s awesome."
What else is awesome is that Smith is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in receiving yards despite playing for a team that was last in pass attempts and is one of only two players (Hall-of-Famer Tim Brown is the other) to have 900 career catches and score on catches, runs, punt returns and kickoff returns.
"I'm a huge Tim Brown fan," Smith said, "and I tape my fingers under my gloves because Tim Brown used to do it. My grandpa is an Oakland Raider fan. He grew up in Monterey, Cal. So hes always been an Oakland fan, and he used to make me watch the Oakland games when they were the Los Angeles Raiders."
Smith was the ultimate competitor who fought for every yard he gained and every touchdown he scored. So we wanted to know if there were one game he would offer Hall-of-Fame voters as Exhibit A, demonstrating who and what Steve Smith was … which one would it be?
"I think that first game in Baltimore against the Pittsburgh Steelers (Sept. 11, 2014)," he said. "The Thursday night game. Because it was at a point of my career … and in a division … that, as an older player, to play n a tough division like that you wouldn’t necessarily see a guy who played faster.
"I loved going to Baltimore because it gave people a renewed set of eyes on me, and it made them look at me closely because it was in a division where that’s how they play. And I rose up to that occasion, and I fit in so well. Where, at times, I would agree that if you have a certain personality in a division where that doesn't fit you stand out ... and not in a good way."
(Steve Smith photos courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)