It didn't take long for the ultra-competitive Steve Smith Sr. to say he's coming back next year.
Shortly after the Ravens' divisional playoff loss in New England, Smith posted to Instagram, saying "Look forward to a better season next year and watch us go WIN IT ALL."
General Manager Ozzie Newsome wants him to breathe a little first a little first.
"Ozzie mentioned to him – which made a lot of sense – is to take three weeks," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday. "Take three weeks and get a chance to take a nap, figuratively, and kind of decide how you feel."
Smith had a very strong season in his first year in purple and black. His 79 regular-season catches tied his most since 2007. He also had 79 in 2011. He registered 1,065 receiving yards, up from 745 a year ago. His six touchdowns were his most since 2011.
Smith, who will turn 36 in May, didn't show any signs of wearing down. But the time off would let him re-focus on how his body feels instead of being caught up in the emotions.
Smith has yet to win a Super Bowl in his 14 years. He reached one with the Panthers in 2003, but has now lost in the divisional playoffs in his last three postseason appearances. He wants a ring.
Harbaugh indicated that Smith could have a smaller role next year if it means preserving his body. The Ravens have a number of good, young receivers such as Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro who could help pick up the slack.
Smith seems to have his mind set on returning, and expressed that desire to Harbaugh.
"Steve was brimming with enthusiasm last time I talked to him to come back and play a role – whatever role that might be," Harbaugh said. "He doesn't have to be [in] a role where he's playing every snap or anything like that, but he looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to me.
"It's up to Steve, really, in the end – how he feels and if he thinks he can do it physically."