Steve Smith‘s NFL career is likely winding down. While he showed last year that he can still play – he caught 46 balls for 670 yards and three touchdowns in seven games – he’s still a 37-year-old dude who is coming off of a torn Achilles tendon. For a receiver whose game has long been predicated on his ability to take the top off of a defense, this is a dangerous mix of things that could signal that he won’t be in the league much longer.
And that’s kind of a shame, because Smith has been an awesome player for such a long time, and despite that, he’s never won a Super Bowl. Whether it’s fair or not is beside the point, but there are plenty of people who judge the success of a player based on their ability to be on a team that wins a ring. For Smith, he has never reached the top of that mountain. In fact, he’s only made it to one Super Bowl in his career, and that came back in 2004.
But there’s one person who won’t judge Smith’s career by the number of rings he wins, and that’s Smith himself. As he told Bleacher Report, winning a ring isn’t a big deal in his eyes because of how fortunate he’s been to be in the league.
Not long ago Smith was having a conversation with Ravens receivers coach Bobby Engram and teammate Mike Wallace. Engram and Wallace told Smith before he retires, they want to help him get a Super Bowl ring. The Panthers lost in Smith’s only Super Bowl appearance in 2004.
Smith’s response: “If I win a Super Bowl or don’t, life doesn’t change. What’s more valuable to me is all the blessings I’ve had, the people who invested in me that I never would have known if I wasn’t on this road. So to be honest, f–k that ring. I’ve gained so many more things doing it this way.”
In a way, it’s refreshing to see an athlete say something like this. Sure, winning a Super Bowl would be great, but Smith has accomplished so much in his career that it’s not like his ability or failure to be on the team that wins it all will keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Plus he seems to really value the relationships that he’s built up over the years, and you can’t fault someone if they think that’s more important than winning a ring.
(via Bleacher Report)