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Who wouldn’t want to see one of the most successful postseason performers in NFL history playing in January with a chance to bolster his already strong Hall of Fame case?
We have our answer to that question: John Harbaugh and Steve Smith.
Responding to a report from Yahoo’s Eric Edholm that a Smith trade is unlikely, Harbaugh stated unequivocally Friday that “there is no chance of that. I wouldn’t part with him.”
Smith has been informed by Ozzie Newsome that the general manager has no designs on dealing him ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline, per Edholm. That was apparently music to the ears of Smith, who threatened to walk away from the game if the Ravens trade him.
“If they would trade me, I would quit,” Smith said Friday, via the Baltimore Sun. “I like to finish what I started.”
Smith is one of just five receivers averaging at least 100 yards per game this year. Belying his 36-year-old legs, he ranks behind only Larry Fitzgerald (12) and Allen Robinson (11) with 10 catches of at least 20 yards.
Edholm’s report suggested Harbaugh and Newsome will try to convince Smith to return for the 2016 season.
Although Smith told reporters earlier this week that he remains “on schedule” for retirement, he avoided definitive statements.
“This is a week-to-week game,” Smith added. “Every game presents its own issues. I can’t keep following with, ‘Well, this is how I feel.'”
Asked if anyone associated with the Ravens had tried to persuade him to delay retirement plans, Smith responded in typical Smith fashion: “Man, we’re 1-5. You think we’re talking about persuading. We’re trying to fix all of the damn holes in this boat right now.”
For the next 10 weeks, Smith will concentrate on fulfilling his vow to “wound, damage and puncture” opponents while playing with “house money” on his way out of the league.
Once the season is over, perhaps Harbaugh will succeed in sweet-talking his best receiver back to Baltimore for another go-round.