Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith is taking his boisterous nature into broadcasting, joining NFL Network on a multiyear deal.
"I was blessed to have a long and productive playing career on the field, but now it's time to turn my attention to the business of covering the game, and I couldn't be more thrilled to be joining the team at NFL Network," Smith said in a statement Thursday. "As the only network with a 100 percent focus on the sport I love, I was drawn to NFL Network and look forward to joining a team made up of many legends of the game."
Smith, 37, retired last month after a 16-year career with the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers. He finished with 1,031 receptions and 14,731 yards, both of which rank among the 12 highest totals in NFL history. He earned five Pro Bowl berths and three All-Pro selections.
The release says Smith will work on "various shows" on the network, most notably NFL GameDay First. NFL Network's morning show broadcasts every Sunday starting at 7 a.m. ET. Smith will also join NFL GameDay Morning from Houston prior to Sunday's Super Bowl LI matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
While Smith's broadcasting experience is limited, he's never been one to shy away from being expressive. Listed at 5'9" and 195 pounds, Smith made his money in the NFL by being perhaps the league's most intense receiver. He's consistently made headlines with his public comments, including a war of words this season with NBC's Rodney Harrison.
"He knows how hard it is to play this game. He's gonna take it away, and say 'If they depend on him at 37.' I respect the heck out of Rodney Harrison, but don't take digs at me, 'cause I dig back and dig deeper. My shovel's bigger than your shovel," Smith said on NFL Network in November after Harrison made his own negative comments, per Jordan Heck of Sporting News.
If Smith is half as entertaining as a media member as he was when he spoke to reporters as a player, he should have no problem in his transition.