Wideout Steve Smith says he'll return to Ravens in 2016

The Associated Press

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens receiver Steve Smith is having second thoughts about retirement.

Smith announced Wednesday on Twitter that his plans for next year include, "Making a comeback, returning to the Baltimore Ravens ready to play football in 2016."

The 15-year veteran said in August that this would be his final year in the NFL.

"I'm going to retire after this, go home and be a dad and look back and enjoy things," Smith said. "I feel like it's time."

Well, maybe not. Smith's season ended Nov. 1 when he tore his right Achilles tendon. At the time, the 36-year-old had 46 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns.

Until Wednesday, Smith insisted his retirement plans had not changed. But now, according to his tweet, Smithintends to "defy the odds, restoring my body to optimal condition."

"I'm not surprised at all. He's not the type of guy to go out like that," Ravens left tackle Kelechi Osemele said. "Obviously, we can't wait to have him back. I know he's going to come back in the best shape of his life and he's going to dominate, because that's the type of person he is."

Smith needs 39 receptions to reach 1,000 for his career. He ranks 11th on the career yards list with 13,932 and has scored 84 touchdowns.

He has one season left on a three-year contract with Baltimore in March 2014. Before coming to the Ravens, the five-time Pro Bowler spent 13 years with Carolina.

Although his announcement caught many by surprise, few of the Ravens expected Smith to limp into retirement after playing half a season.

"I knew as soon as he got injured he was going to be back," Osemele said. "That's just Steve. He didn't come here to go out like that."

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith flashed a wry smile when asked about Steve Smith's reversal of plans.

"I kind of already knew he was coming back," Jimmy Smith said. "He's a great, tremendous leader for us and obviously we know what type of player he is. That can only help us."

Linebacker Elvis Dumervil figures the Ravens (5-10) will be a better team in 2016 with Steve Smith on offense.

"That's my guy, man," Dumervil said. "Obviously, anybody who bleeds black and purple is excited. Emotional, good leader. Great teammate, great player."