Steve Smith's Agent Not Convinced He'll Retire
Boy, it doesn't matter how many times Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. insists he is retiring after this season. Few people actually believe him.
Among them is his own agent, Derrick Fox, who gave retirement a 50-50 chance after this season.
"I'm not 51 percent or 49 percent," Fox told ESPN's Jim Trotter. "I'm right at 50 percent.
"I know this guy better than anybody but his wife. I've told him, 'I don't think that you're really going to retire.' The guy is just an insane competitor, and I think as long as his body works appropriately he's really going to have a hard time next August saying, 'Oh, wow. Guys are going to camp.' He's never experienced it in his entire life, and he's got a lot left in the tank."
When announcing his retirement before the season, Smith gave two main reasons why his 15th season would be his last: 1) the desire to spend time with family 2) the desire to walk away while playing at a high level.
Well, there are no signs of decay on those 36-year-old legs. Smith ranks seventh in the league in receiving yards (588), sixth in yards per game (98) and tied for 10th in catches (41). Did I mention he produced that despite microfractures in his back?
"I called him recently and said, 'Dude, you're really going to hang it up? Really?'" said longtime Carolina teammate and retired quarterback Jake Delhomme. "I told him, 'When I see you, you don't need to quit. Some guys, they need to quit because you want to remember them for what they were in their primes. But it's not like you're regressing.'"
So there appears to be plenty left in the tank in terms of productivity. But is there enough desire in the tank?
Smith doesn't seem convinced that another year – or even another team – will guarantee him a Super Bowl ring, the one thing that has eluded his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Smith has insisted on many occasions that spending time with family is the reason to move on, but his words are falling on deaf ears. At this point, there's no reason to even ask whether his plans have changed.
The only thing that will stop the doubting is when he officially walks away.
Smith Tweaks Knee In Practice, Added To Injury Report
Speaking of Smith, per the official injury report, he was limited in practice Thursday with a knee injury.
"He [a]ppeared to be hurt on a sideline route during individual drills," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli. "Smith was cutting out toward the sidelines and didn't move the same after. He stood still for a while and was flexing his left knee."
Smith was just removed from the report last week after playing with microfractures in his back. It will be interesting to see if he is limited again today when the injury report comes out later this afternoon. His official status for Sunday's game will also be part of Friday's injury report.
Philip Rivers Announces Birth Of Baby No. 8
Just three days before his matchup across the country against Baltimore, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and his wife Tiffany announced they had their eighth child Wednesday evening.
That is not a typo. This is child No. 8, which means the Rivers family is three kids away from a full offense. They have two boys and newest baby Clare marks the sixth girl.
"Ravens are wondering whether he'll take some paternity leave this weekend," tweeted ESPN's Jamison Hensley, who was of course joking. Rivers is one of the NFL's ironmen, playing in 151 consecutive games. That's ranks No. 4 all-time among NFL quarterbacks, one spot ahead of quarterback Joe Flacco (119 straight games).
In the CSNMidAtlantic.com video below, Head Coach John Harbaugh talks about facing the Chargers quarterback.
Ravens Would Have To Work Hard For No. 1 Pick
If the season ended today, the Ravens would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
But the season is not ending today, and the Ravens are finally through the most brutal part of their schedule. In the past 16 years, just two NFL teams have opened a season with five of their first seven games on the road: the 2000 Ravens and the 2015 Ravens.
Now, the Ravens will enjoy six of their next nine at home, plus get a bye to recharge their batteries. For that reason, Hensley doesn't see the Ravens ending up with the top pick of the draft.
"Basically, if the Ravens finish with the worst record, the Ravens will have earned the right because they will have to lose to some bad teams and do so on their home turf," Hensley wrote.
Sure, it's not "out of the realm of possibility," says Hensley. After all, the Ravens are 0-2 at M&T Bank Stadium this season, and one of those losses was to the 2-5 Cleveland Browns.
"There is hope for those wanting to see Ohio State's Joey Bosa in purple," wrote Hensley. "But the favorable finish to the schedule explains why Football Outsiders only gives the Ravens a 7 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick and numberFire has the Ravens' odds at 10.1 percent. The Lions are considered the favorite for the first pick by Football Outsiders and numberFire."
Former NFL Trainer Explains Risks Pitta Is Taking
Tight end Dennis Pitta is in the middle of a three-week window in which he is practicing with the team and using the time to determine whether he will attempt a comeback from his second hip surgery.
Pitta essentially told reporters that he feels it's now or never to resume his NFL career, and Dr. David J. Chao, MD, a former NFL head team physician for 17-plus years and orthopedic surgeon, tends to agree.
Dr. Chao told CBS Sports' Samuel Njoku that he believes if Pitta doesn't play for Baltimore, it's "very unlikely" he will ever play elsewhere. Liability would shift to another franchise, but would another organization take that risk?
"What bodes poorly for someone like Dennis Pitta is that it's the second time he's suffered a dislocation," Dr. Chao told CBS Baltimore. "There was no real trauma other than a misstep. Most people will say it's better because he didn't get crushed, but it's actually worse because the easier it is for the hip to dislocate the more unstable it is."
Dr. Chao wanted to make it clear that he hasn't seen Pitta as a patient, and doesn't have first-hand experience with his specific case. But he does have extensive knowledge of what a player goes through post-hip dislocation. He outlined some of the risks Pitta would be taking if he returns to game action.
"The first thing he is risking is instant recurrent instability, where the hip comes out of the socket again. He also risks further damage to his articular cartilage, either from wear and tear or further trauma. Not to mention the risk of avascular necrosis, a condition in which the head of the ball dies. There could be some of that already, but the risk of this intensifies with further usage."
The Picks Are In: Chargers vs. Ravens
Analysts are finally predicting a Ravens victory again, but they're not doing it with very much confidence.
Neither Baltimore (1-6) nor San Diego (2-5) are playing winning football, but the Ravens are getting the edge in many experts' picks because they're finally playing a West Coast team on the East Coast. So the home-field advantage, plus the Chargers losing games by more points, gives Baltimore the advantage.
Of the 57 analysts below, 48 say the Ravens will pick up their second win of the season.
Baltimore Sun: 5 of 7 panelists pick Ravens
"This is one of those situations where it's hard to pick either team, so I'm just going with the home-field advantage. If the law of averages wants to catch up with the Ravens this week, all the better." -- Peter Schmuck
ESPN: 10 of 12 panelists pick Ravens
"Maybe the weather will stop San Diego because Baltimore's secondary won't. I'm going with San Diego because I don't think the weather is going to be that big." -- Jerome Bettis.
CBS Sports: 7 of 8 panelists pick Ravens
"This is a game of two disappointing teams. The Ravens are 1-6 and look done. They've played four games on the other side of the country, so now it's get-even with San Diego coming to their place. The Chargers looked awful losing to the Raiders, while the Ravens have lost a lot of close games. They win this one with Joe Flacco having a big day." -- Pete Prisco
Fox Sports: 4 of 7 panelists pick Ravens
"Considering the success this organization has had in the seven years since Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh got to Baltimore, it's incredible to even consider the Ravens in the top 10 of a draft. Who would they take? I have no idea, but it might be time to start having those conversations. I think the Chargers travel across the country and upset them on Sunday." -- Peter Schrager
NFL.com: 6 of 6 panelists pick Ravens
"The 2015 Chargers can't run the ball, even though they spent a first-round pick on Melvin Gordon. Over the last two weeks, Mike McCoy has dialed up 127 pass plays versus 42 runs. That's throwing the ball 75 percent of the time. Unfortunately for the Ravens, if ever there was a team to throw the ball on, they are it." -- Elliot Harrison
ProFootballTalk.com: 2 of 2 panelists pick Ravens
"Finally, the Ravens play a West Coast team without having to travel to the West Coast. If they can't win this one against a demoralized Chargers team, the Ravens should just move back to Cleveland." -- Mike Florio
Bleacher Report: 8 of 8 panelists pick Ravens
"No NFL team wants to hear they are better than their record, but … it really is true with the 2015 Ravens. … The San Diego Chargers, on the other hand, looked like a 2-5 team in losing at home last week to the Oakland Raiders. So in the eyes of our panel, this is the week the Ravens finally get a break." -- Gary Davenport
SB Nation: 6 of 7 panelists pick Ravens
- Kicking consultant and Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown talks about how his town will offer free Uber rides for those too drunk to drive. [FoxBuisness.com]