NEW YORK – Steve Smith is eager to continue his NFL career in Baltimore, where he’s just a short flight from his permanent home in Charlotte.
The longtime Panthers standout wide receiver didn’t waste any time finding a new home, signing a three-year contract with the Ravens about 24 hours after being released by Carolina.
The Ravens announced the signing of the 34-year-old Smith on Friday.
Smith was released by the Panthers after 13 seasons. He should provide a solid weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco.
“This has been an organization with a history of giving veteran players a chance and meshing them with younger players,” Smith said on a conference call Friday.
Smith arrived in Baltimore late Thursday night and negotiations and meetings continued into the early morning hours on Friday.
Smith said he had a contract offer from the San Diego Chargers and canceled a visit with the New England Patriots scheduled for Monday. Smith added the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks also expressed interest.
One of the reasons he chose Baltimore, he noted, is because it’s about a one-hour flight to Charlotte, where his family will continue to live. Smith’s wife, Angie, is expecting their fourth child later this year.
Smith ranks 19th in the NFL in career receptions. He caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. “We have added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “He’s a proven player who has performed the best in big games and biggest situations. He adds toughness to our offense.”
The Ravens will play the Panthers in 2014 in Baltimore, something Smith is clearly looking to forward to. He told Charlotte-based radio station WFNZ-AM on Wednesday that fans will need to wear goggles because there will “blood and guts everywhere” on the field when he plays the Panthers.