After Another Birthday, Steve Smith Has Chance To Join Jerry Rice In NFL History
Steve Smith Sr., the oldest wide receiver in the NFL, celebrated his 37th birthday yesterday with a pedicure (I'll spare you the picture of those football-worn feet).
He could celebrate his 16th and likely final NFL season by joining legendary receiver Jerry Rice in NFL history.
If Smith records 1,000 receiving yards this season, he will become just the second player to do so at the age of 37 years or older, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only person to accomplish that feat is Rice, who did it 15 years ago at the age of 40.
It's been a decade and a half. Can Smith end the drought?
"[I] wouldn't bet against him," tweeted CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.
Smith has reached 1,000 yards in three of his past five seasons, and had it not been for an Achilles injury last year, he probably would have made it four of the last five. With 670 yards through seven games, Smith was on pace for a massive 1,531 yards.
If Smith did put up another 1,000 yards in 2016, that would catapult him to the No. 7 spot on the all-time receiving list. If he added another 3 yards on top of that, he would be No. 6, just ahead of legend Tim Brown. Smith currently ranks No. 11, one spot higher than Cris Carter, who is in the Hall of Fame.
"Not only should Smith's age be underscored, his durability has been quite an achievement as well," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "To put Smith's extended run in perspective, his first season in the NFL was 2001, when the NFL's leading passer was Kurt Warner, the top rusher was Priest Holmes and the most productive receiver was David Boston."
Smith will face new challenges to a 1,000-yard milestone this season.
Obviously, he's another year older. Plus, he's coming off his Achilles injury, which could hurt his explosiveness. The Ravens will also have a deeper, and presumably healthier, receiving corps (knock on wood) with Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken and more.
Smith doesn't want to overthink it, however.
"I think what you need to do is let me play and quit commenting about my play, because every time you all tell me something I can't do, then you have a reason [for] why I'm doing it," Smith said at the end of the season. "I was 36 years old and close to the top five. Just let me play. Quit asking me what I'm going to put up. I'm going to put up the numbers I'm going to put up, and I'll contribute the way I contribute at 37."
Marshal Yanda Only Raven To Make PFF's Top 101 Players
Ravens guard Marshal Yanda was ranked the 16th-best player on Pro Football Focus' (PFF) Top 101 Players in 2015.
PFF created its list based off its cumulative play-by-play grades, and after allowing just 17 total pressures last year, Yanda was the highest-graded NFL guard with a plus-92.5 rating.
"The best guard in football in 2015, Marshal Yanda was one of the few bright spots on a Baltimore offensive line that is not what it once was," wrote Sam Monson. "Yanda trailed only Evan Mathis in run-blocking grades over the year, but was the best pass-blocking guard in the league, surrendering just one sack over 1,155 snaps and comfortably topping the overall grading list. Interior linemen don't get the ink that more glamorous positions are awarded, but Yanda has been one of the league's best players for years now, and this was just another season of dominant displays from the former Iowa product."
Yanda was the third-highest ranked offensive lineman behind Joe Thomas (12) and Tyron Smith (13). He was the only Raven to make the list after the team finished with a 5-11 record and several of the stars on injured reserve.
"Hopefully some better play and health from Joe Flacco, Brandon Williams, C. J. Mosley and Jimmy Smith can propel them up the rankings after the 2016 season," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Vasilis Lericos.
Eugene Monroe Donates $80,000 To Medical Marijuana Research For NFL Players
Left tackle Eugene Monroe made an $80,000 donation to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania to examine the impact of cannabinoid therapies on current and former NFL players.
His donation was announced in a joint press release Thursday by The Realm of Caring and CW Botanicals, per CSNMidAtlantic.com.
The release stated that Monroe "cannot use cannabinoid products and is instead prescribed opioids to manage his chronic pain from sports-related injuries. He recognizes the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and fully supports this research that could help professional and amateur athletes as well as anyone suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Eugene hopes that his actions will influence the NFL in changing their policy on cannabis and recognize it as a viable treatment option.
"Due to the NFL's strict anti-cannibas policies, it's difficult for current players to speak in support of the plant and its potential therapeutic uses. Despite the risks, on March 9 Eugene became the first active NFL player to call on the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and to urge the NFL to stop overprescribing opioids."
Monroe also created a website, www.eugenemonroe.com, which tells his story and why he is calling for a change in the NFL drug policy.
NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell was recently asked about the policy, and he said he didn't see an imminent change for medical marijuana.
"We always review our drug policy," Goodell said during Super Bowl week. "I don't foresee a change in that clearly in the short term, but we'll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel."
Salary Cap Not As Dire As Recent ESPN Article Makes It Seem
In a recent article, ESPN's Bill Barnwell graded the Ravens' offseason moves (he gave them a C-plus) and implied they were in a dire salary-cap situation.
And, as is typical for people outside of Baltimore, Barnwell put much of the blame on quarterback Joe Flacco's contract.
But, the Ravens actually have enough money to make a few modest additions, if they want, since most of their 90-man roster is already set. They are in a solid spot for this time of the year.
So, why does Barnwell think the Ravens' cap situation is "a mess"?