Steve Smith Sr. tore his Achilles tendon in Sunday's win, an injury that will keep the wide receiver out for the rest of the season.
But it may not be a career ending injury, as there are already indications that the 36-year-old receiver will be back in Baltimore next year.
Smith suffered the injury late in the third quarter of his team's 29-26 win over the San Diego Chargers. He had just caught a 17-yard pass to convert a third down and grabbed his right leg after being taken down to the turf and pointed to the sidelines for trainers. Smith was unable to put any weight on the leg and had to be carried off the field.
UPDATE: Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. went down with foot injury, is doubtful to return. pic.twitter.com/Evr5kpCujUIt was a bittersweet game for Steve Smith Sr. The receiver just moved into the NFL's top 10 all-time receiving yards list earlier in the game.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) November 1, 2015
Despite the season-ending injury, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he does not believe it will be the end of Smith's career.
"I have a feeling Steve Smith will be back," he said.
Steve Smith said this would be his last season, but after today's injury Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn't so sure... pic.twitter.com/eNOUrmbKs2"I'm looking forward to seeing how this story ends," Harbaugh added.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 1, 2015
Steve Smith Jr. didn't give any hint whether the plans to retire, but did say he would miss being with this teammates.
"What hurts the most is that I can't be out there with my guys," Smith said in a statement. "We had a great team win today, and that's really all that counts."
But if he does play on, Smith won't be putting on another jersey next season. He has reportedly made it known that he would not play for any other team, and would rather just retire if the Ravens tried to trade him.
"If they would trade me, I would quit," Smith said Friday, via the Baltimore Sun. "I like to finish what I started."
There had been rumors that the Baltimore Ravens were looking to trade Smith, but ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter refuted those reports.
It would not be that crazy to imagine Smith returning, even at 37. Unlike fellow aging receivers like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens, Smith has been able to keep his level of play up and to remain a strong enough locker room presence (even outside his ugly exit from the Carolina Panthers) to be a valuable asset in the NFL.
It was an injury filled day in the NFL. Just before Steve Smith Jr. tore his Achilles, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell injured his knee and had to be carted off the field.
While there is not yet an update on the severity of the injury, there is already some controversy surrounding the hit that sidelined him. Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict made the tackle, then celebrated with teammates while Bell was injured on the turf.
Some even vowed payback against Burfict.
"He's that type of guy," Steelers guard Ramon Foster said of Burfict. "That type of guy will get his sooner or later.... If you've played against him, you know what I mean by it. He'll play it off, act dumb about it, but you don't run across the field acting hyped, celebrating, jumping up and down when a guy goes down like that."
The injury to Steve Smith Jr. is a huge blow to the Baltimore Ravens, who at 2-6 were already on the outside of the playoff picture before his injury. Smith had 46 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns this season, leading the team in all three categories.
[Image via Twitter/NFL on CBS]