OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens locker room was upbeat as they cleaned out their lockers and closed the door on the 2015 season. Things didn’t go the way anyone planned, but there is plenty of reason for optimism as they look forward to next season.
One of the biggest reasons for optimism is the return of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. Smith walked around the locker room without a boot on his foot for the first time since surgery. He was his usual self, joking with teammates and the media.
Steve Smith Sr. talks about why he’ll be back in 2016
Smith said that his rehab process is going well but he is taking it slow. He said he’s just been “hanging out.” The plan is for him to be able to start running and doing work in the swimming pool eventually.
Some felt that Smith would need to speed up his recovery process if he wanted to return next season. That is definitely not the case in Smith’s opinion. He joked about how some have said that he is doing advanced rehab activities.
“I won’t be ahead of schedule. If anything – to be safe – I’ll be behind schedule. With an injury like this, you don’t want to be ahead of schedule. That takes away a lot of stuff,” Smith Sr. said. “Despite reports that I’m doing hydrotherapy, I’m the driest hydrotherapy recipient ever, because I’m not doing hydrotherapy.”
The decision to come back was one that Smith almost had to make. It’s hard to imagine a fierce competitor like Smith allowing his last play to be one in which he’s carried off of the field because of an injury. Coming back from the Achilles injury is a challenge to Smith…he loves challenges.
He was quick to point out how many didn’t think he would be as dominant as he was when he was healthy last season.
Coming back was something that his wife initially brought up. He said it was a topic of conversation that constantly came up in discussions in their home. According to Smith, the idea was brought up prior to his injury. It was the injury that more or less sealed the deal for a comeback.
“We started discussing it when my wife brought it up. It was literally like the night before the Raiders game. Yes. My wife brought it up and asked me how I felt about it. We talked about it off and on from then,” Smith said. “Obviously, when I got hurt, [we] sat down and decided, ‘What do you want to do?’ After I – I guess – sobered up from the operation and dealing with all that, we talked about it and had a feel of what I wanted to do. The family – we talked about it, so that’s why.”