Ravens' Steve Smith still 'on schedule' to retire at end of this season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith didn't say the word "retirement," but the five-time Pro Bowl player indicated that he hasn't changed his mind on walking away from the game at the end of the season.

"I'm on schedule for what I discussed earlier in the year," Smith said.

This isn't the most definitive statement on retirement, although it's stronger than what he said last week when asked if he still planned on calling it a career. On Wednesday, Smith seemed irritated by the suggestion that he sidestepped questions last week.

"People keep saying that I avoided the question. It's not about avoiding," Smith said. "This is a week-to-week game. Every game presents its own issues. I can't keep following with, 'Well, this is how I feel.'"

No one would criticize Smith is he did change his mind considering the Ravens are off to the worst start in franchise history. Smith has proven he can still play at a high level, leading the Ravens with 36 receptions for 510 yards and three touchdowns.

Smith is the only receiver on the Ravens who can get consistently open, and his departure would leave a huge void in the Baltimore passing game.

Asked if anyone from the Ravens has tried to persuade him to delay retirement for a year, Smith said, "Man, we're 1-5. You think we're talking about persuading. We're trying to fix all of the damn holes in this boat right now."

If Smith does indeed leave at the end of the season, he's putting up some impressive numbers on what could be a Hall of Fame career. He is one of 10 NFL players to surpass 18,000 career combined yards and is one of 12 players in league history to record 900 catches, 13,000 receiving yards and 70 touchdown catches.

Smith is rightfully drawing praise for what he was able to do last Sunday. Even after suffering four micro fractures in his back on Oct. 1, he came back to catch seven passes for 137 yards and one touchdown.

What's the secret to overcoming this injury?

"I have a great nutritionist that I'm sleeping with -- my wife," he said with a smile.