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Steve Smith “Leaning Strongly” Towards Playing In 2016

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Ravens WR Steve Smith is “leaning strongly” toward returning for another season, even after the news that he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear on Sunday.

  • According to La Canfora, Smith is scheduled to undergo surgery on his Achilles next Monday.
  • La Canfora adds that Smith won’t make a final decision for a while, but his decision to have surgery so soon will give him an opportunity to get an early start on his rehab.
  • Those close to Smith would reportedly be surprised to see him retire, as he doesn’t want his career to end this way.

Smith’s agent Derrick Fox previously hinted that he could change his mind about retirement.

I think he’s committed to the concept [of retirement], but I don’t think that the reality of it has set in that it means he can’t do what he loves to do and lives to do,” Fox said. “Pick me out any stadium on any Sunday anywhere in the NFL, and there’s not a guy that comes out on that field that loves to compete more than Steve — and he’s never lost that.

“I know this guy better than anybody but his wife. I’ve told him, ‘I don’t think that you’re really going to retire.’ The guy is just an insane competitor, and I think as long as his body works appropriately he’s really going to have a hard time next August saying, ‘Oh, wow. Guys are going to camp.’ He’s never experienced it in his entire life, and he’s got a lot left in the tank.”

When asked on the likelihood of Smith retiring, Fox said: “I’m 50-50. I’m not 51 percent or 49 percent. I’m right at 50 percent.”

The Ravens have made it clear that they want Smith back next year, so we’ll have to see if he does, in fact, change his mind about retirement.

Smith, 36, has two years remaining on his three-year, $10.5 million contract and stands to make a base salary of $3 million this year and next.

This season, Smith has appeared in seven games and caught 46 passes for 670 yards receiving and three touchdowns for the Ravens. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 2 receiver out of 110 qualifying players.