Steve Smith Sr. officially ended his NFL career, filing his paperwork on Friday.
The pint-sized stiff-arming machine has regaled us with such quips as "89, bottom line," "Ice up, son," "put your goggles on cause there's going to be blood and guts everywhere," "we take your applesauce and we take your spork and we break it" and many other sound bites through his 16-year NFL career.
With Smith officially walking away, the clock starts on his Hall of Fame candidacy. For my money, Smith is a shoo-in. Don't quibble over first ballot or second ballot. (To rephrase Happy Gilmore: First ballot, Second ballot, who gives a sh.....). Around The NFL colleague Chris Wesseling wrote the definitive case for Smith's Hall of Fame candidacy last year. The former face of the Carolina Panthers only strengthened that case by jumping over the 1,000-catch mark this year.
Smith is correct, defensive backs can relax knowing they won't get tortured physically and mentally by one of the pound-for-pound best players in NFL history.