Longtime Ravens CB Jimmy Smith retires after 11 seasons in NFL

A longtime Ravens cornerback is calling it a career.

Jimmy Smith will officially retire from the NFL on Monday, the team announced on Twitter.

Baltimore spent the 27th overall pick of the 2011 draft on Smith, a corner who rose from relative obscurity to top-prospect status during his final two seasons at Colorado. The Ravens chose the ascending Smith with the hopes he'd arrive as a shutdown defender for the next decade.

Smith never quite lived up to that expectation, instead bouncing between strong seasons and underwhelming ones throughout his 11 years spent in Baltimore. After one month spent as a free agent in the 2022 season, he decided this was it for him.

Smith admitted in January he was contemplating retirement while watching a longtime division rival, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, ride off into the sunset.

"I'm not gonna sit here and act like I don't think about it (retirement)," Smith said at the time. ... "It's tough, because I'm a football player. I love it. This is my life. Sometimes, just even thinking about not playing, I'm like 'I don't want to do anything else.'

"... I kind of want to go to the other side and be able to spend that time with my family and do those other things. ... But the other part of me is like, 'bro, you know dang well you're a football and you want to be on that field.' "

Smith spent more than a decade in Baltimore, joining the Ravens amid the uncertainty of the 2011 lockout and recording two interceptions during his rookie campaign. Smith didn't manage to crack the lineup as a full-time starter until his third season, though, a year in which he recorded a career-high 15 passes defensed and three forced fumbles.

Smith put together two quality seasons in 2013 and 2014, earning a four-year extension worth over $40 million, but the effects of a foot injury suffered in 2014 hampered him in 2015. The foot injury was the start of a frequent battle for Smith, who would be forced to endure a number of injuries throughout his career and missed time due to two separate suspensions in 2017 and 2018.

He tied a career-high for interceptions in 2017, the same year in which current top Ravens corner Marlon Humphrey arrived via the draft. Smith's second suspension opened the door for Humphrey to enter the starting lineup in 2018, and by 2019, the Ravens sought additional help by acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters. Before long, Smith's role became a secondary one at best, and after exploring his options elsewhere in 2020, Smith returned to Baltimore, where he'd play out his final two seasons.

That time has officially come to an end with Monday's announcement. And as Smith said in January, he will always -- and only -- be a Raven.

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