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Steve Smith Sr. Retires: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured Columnist

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 18: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Free-agent veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. confirmed his retirement after the Baltimore Ravens' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, likely meaning an end to his 16-year career.

NFL on CBS shared Smith's postgame comments:

NFLonCBS @NFLonCBS

Steve Smith Sr. tells CBS "that's it" after Ravens final game of the season. https://t.co/EeCg8iHY9j

Smith also posted on his Twitter account regarding his decision to walk away from football:

Steve Smith Sr @89SteveSmith

It's been Real #agent89out #stevesmithsr #RavensFlock @Ravens #SSmithWPMOY https://t.co/YYpmh6BSVp

On Friday, Smith posted his official retirement letter to the NFL:

Steve Smith Sr @89SteveSmith

It's official my letter to the @NFL #agent89 out ✌ #stevesmithsr #RavensFlock #SSmithWPMOYchallenge https://t.co/CMW2PXDPkd

Smith had announced Dec. 28 that he would "probably" retire after the final game of the regular season, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, ending his career after 16 NFL seasons.

Smith spent the last three years with the Ravens, continuing his reign as one of the best receivers in the game.

The five-time Pro Bowler did have to battle through injuries in the process, though, missing nine games in 2015 with a torn Achilles. It looked like an unceremonious ending to his career considering he had announced before that season he was going to call it quits.

But playing in just seven games fueled him to return, as he announced he would be back in Baltimore come 2016:

Steve Smith Sr @89SteveSmith

Wit the blessing of My Family, Friends & Fans!! 2016 Let's give'em Hell 😂 #SmithWPMOYChallenge #SmithWPMOYChallenge https://t.co/RxBQMHGLT2

He finished the final year of his three-year contract with 70 catches, 799 yards and five touchdowns.

As one of the most tenacious competitors the game has ever seen, Smith continued to excel as one of Joe Flacco's go-to guys despite being 37 years old, via the NFL:

NFL @NFL

Stay. OUT. Of. Steve. Smith's. Way. Or... This could happen. #AFootballLife https://t.co/mH9SJtOpON

Smith made his name with the Carolina Panthers, posting seven 1,000-plus-yard seasons in 13 years with the organization.

His name is all over Carolina's record books, and he boasts Hall of Fame-level numbers:

Steve Smith Career Stats: Carolina Panthers and Overall
Panthers StatsAmountFranchise RankCareer AmountNFL Rank (All-Time)
Receptions8361st1,02813th
Yards12,1971st14,6977th
TD671st8127th
Pro-Football-Reference.com

He played a big part in the Panthers winning the NFC title in 2003, when they fell just short to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

It will be the one glaring absence on his career resume, as Smith will ride off into the sunset without a championship.

However, that should do little to take away from the stellar career he built for 16 years.

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