“More motivated now than I've ever been,” he wrote last week.
The unprompted message gave a clear indication of the way Smith views the upcoming season.
After Tuesday’s practice during organized team activities (OTAs), Smith elaborated on the thought and explained that he “definitely” has more motivation heading into his fourth NFL season.
“It’s everything, man,” Smith said. “I’m another year in. I’m one year closer to getting out, so I want to work hard and make sure I can remain in this league. And I want to get back to the Super Bowl.
“I feel like you have to find something new every year. You can’t be motivated by the same things.”
Smith is coming off the best individual season of his career, where he caught a team-leading 65 passes for 1,128 yards and four touchdowns. It was his first season as the Ravens’ No. 1 receiver, and he made the transition from a speedy downfield threat to the team’s top target.
But Smith’s motivation extends beyond statistics and status, as he recently enjoyed the arrival of his son. Smith’s wife, Chanel, gave birth to the couple’s first child in April, and having a baby has changed his outlook.
“I have a child. That means a lot to be able to take care of him, and my family as well,” Smith said. “That all kind of goes together for me. The baby kind of adds another little chip on my shoulder. I want to be the best dad I can be. It’s a little bit of everything.”
Smith also knows that he’s heading into the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens have expressed interest in working out a long-term deal with him before the season, and Smith has said on numerous occasions that he wants to play in Baltimore for many years to come.
Contract negotiations are on the horizon, but a big payday isn’t what has Smith more motivated than ever.
“I’m not financially driven,” he said. “I’m not driven just by being here in the league. I want to be great at what I’m doing. And I want to win.”
The Ravens have big expectations for Smith this season, as he’s on the cusp of becoming one of the NFL’s premier receivers. He has increased his production in each of his first three seasons, and the hope is to continue that trend in 2014.
Smith avoided any specifics when talking about individual expectations for the season, and brushed off a question about the topic.
For him, it’s all about one goal.
“Win a Super Bowl again,” he said. “It’s that simple to me.”