Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. stated Pittsburgh Steelers safety and former teammate Mike Mitchell is now on his "lifetime hit list" after Smith thought the safety delivered the blow that knocked him out of Thursday night's game and left him with a back injury.
CSN Mid-Atlantic passed along the remarks from the 36-year-old wideout, who's long been one of the NFL's fiercest competitors: "For the first time in my career, I feel like I'm 36. I got speared in the back by an ex-teammate and I kind of know his character and who he is."
He went on to claim Mitchell made a remark to him after delivering the hit, and it's clear he's certainly going to keep that in mind moving forward.
"After he hit me, he said, 'How do you like that?'" Smith said. "So, I mean, the best thing I can do without threatening him and saying that I will assault him when I see him is I will say I look forward to playing him again and he's on my lifetime hit list."
However, as Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports notes, it was actually Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake and linebacker Lawrence Timmons who combined on the tackle that injured Smith.
It's not much of a surprise Smith was fuming after the game. He's always played with a chip on his shoulder, making up for his lack of ideal size (5'9", 195 lbs) with brash toughness. Getting knocked out of the game as the Ravens mounted a comeback surely left a sour taste in his mouth.
His comments about Mitchell's character suggest there might be a backstory to the situation as well. They were teammates with the Carolina Panthers during the 2013 season.
Smith announced before this season he's retiring once the campaign comes to an end. Before the injury, he was playing like somebody who's capable of competing for several more years with 29 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns through four games.
His decision to walk away from the sport doesn't give him much time to get the apparent revenge he seeks on Mitchell. The rematch between the AFC North division rivals in Week 16 (Dec. 27) is surely circled on his calendar.