A Look At Steve Smith's Hall Of Fame Resume
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was forthcoming in his podium session with reporters after Wednesday's minicamp practice.
He discussed the challenges of a grueling rehab from a torn Achilles and how that affected his desire to return. He also revealed that chasing 1,000 catches is part of his motivation for returning, and he thinks about whether he'll end up in the Hall of Fame one day.
With Smith coming back for one more season and a chance to cement his Hall of Fame legacy, let's take a look at his chances to earn a gold jacket.
Smith currently has 961 catches and 13,932 receiving yards, which ranks 15th and 11th in NFL history, respectively. If Smith can eclipse the 1,000 mark with at least 39 catches this year, he'll be incredibly tough for Hall of Fame voters to pass up.
"Of the 13 players who have made 1,000 catches, six have been eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Four -- Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison -- have been inducted," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "Only two -- Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce -- are waiting to get in."
Another significant milestone well within reach is 14,000 receiving yards.
"Smith also only needs 68 yards receiving to reach 14,000 yards, which is an important milestone to him and Hall of Fame voters," Hensley wrote. "Five of the seven eligible players to eclipse that mark are in the Hall."
The challenge that Smith is going to face six years from now, when he's eligible for induction,is that there is a bit of a logjam at receiver. Owens didn't make it in on his first ballot, and he is second all-time in receiving yards.
Smith will also be competing for induction against some current receivers like Andre Johnson (1,053 catches, 14,100 yards), Larry Fitzgerald (1,018 catches, 13,366 yards) and Anquan Boldin (1,009 catches, 13,195 yards), and all of them have relatively similar numbers.
Another point to consider is that Smith has a distinct advantage in the return game. He was a dynamic returner early in his career, and has 1,684 career punt return yards.
For what it's worth, current Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin both said at the Pro Bowl that they believe Smith should join them in Canton once his career is finished.
Justin Tucker Shows Off Amazing Opera Voice
Justin Tucker is well known for his ability to belt out a few notes.
The charismatic kicker has a fantastic voice and can sing opera in several different languages. His vocal chords have been featured on several commercials, and last year he had the chance to perform at a charity event at the Baltimore Basilica.
Music is a passion of Tucker's, and he took a camera crew from the Players Tribune with him as he worked on his other craft this offseason in Texas.
"It's definitely cool to take the time in the offseason and do something for yourself," Tucker said in the video. "For me, I like to do something a little more artistic."
Multiple Teams In Pursuit Of Monroe
The Ravens released veteran left tackle Eugene Monroe Wednesday after trade talks reportedly fell through with the New York Giants. Now the Giants, and several other teams, are pursuing the 29-year-old offensive lineman on the open market.
"Moments after [Monroe] was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, the Giants began their pursuit of the 29-year-old, according to two NFL sources," wrote Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. "They believed there was a 'decent chance' they'd be able to land him too, though a source familiar with Monroe's plans said he was in no rush to choose his next team."
Before Wednesday's release, the Ravens held Monroe out of minicamp practice because they had taken calls from teams interested in trading for him. Vacchiano described the trade talks with the Giants as "very preliminary," and the ultimate holdup was that New York was hesitant to take on the $20 million Monroe still had left on his contract.
"Now their hope is to sign the 6-5, 300-pounder at a reduced rate, though they reportedly may have some competition from the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks," Vacchiano wrote.
An interesting note from the Daily News report is that the Giants would want Monroe to play right tackle. He has solely been a left tackle throughout his eight seasons in the NFL.
Ripple Effects Of Releasing Monroe
Releasing Monroe was a significant move for the Ravens, and CSNMidAtlantic's Clifton Brown highlighted what he believes to be the three ripple effects of the decision:
- Ronnie Stanley will get an "NFL baptism under fire"
- Completely new left side of the offensive line
- Marshal Yanda becomes even more important
"[Monroe's release] will make Stanley's training camp and practices this summer vitally important," Brown wrote. "Starting Week 1, the Ravens will need Stanley to play with confidence."
The point about Yanda is interesting because he has little to do with what happens at the left tackle spot. But Brown believes Yanda's leadership will take on a more significant role this summer.
"Yanda is the best player on the line, and the most authoritative voice," Brown wrote. "With the left side in transition, the line will count on Yanda's leadership and advice during training camp."