Former Utah Utes star wide receiver Steve Smith is back–after a few weeks away from the limelight. What better way to put yourself back in the good graces of everyone, than to have a big game on Monday Night Football and run your mouth?
Well, Smith did that and then some in Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints, hauling in four catches for 89 yards and one touchdown for his new team, the Baltimore Ravens, in a 34-27 win.
Smith, who long ago defied all odds by actually playing in and sticking in the NFL, continues to be a thorn in the sides of all NFL defenders–in particular the players trying to stop him. With another 1,000 yard receiving year in a different color uniform a near-certainty, Smith has turned back time–literally.
In fact, it seems like anytime someone doubts Smith, he comes through even more. Such was the case with Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro, who–what else?–started running his mouth at Smith. What, you think the former Utah star who’s 5-foot-nothin, 100-and-nuthin is gonna put up with that?
“I made a pact with myself that I’d look in the eyes of all my victims before taking their lunch money,” Smith said after the game. “Anyone can run a go route. Can you cover these multiple routes I’m gonna run? The answer is no.”
With 53 catches for 817 yards and 5 TDs, it’s clear Smith isn’t the same guy he was a few years ago when he was making Pro Bowls. But, he’s still productive, thanks, and he doesn’t care what people think, obviously. Note to future opponents–this week’s 89-yard, 1-TD outing for Smith was his best in his last five games.
in fact, Vaccaro and Smith went at it multiple times in this game, including a sequence in which Vaccaro obviously didn’t get the memo that Smith would not only get mad–he’d get even. Vaccaro threw a haymaker at Smith at one point during the Ravens’ win, while Smith struck a Heisman pose–then made spectacular catches. About that incident, yeah, Smith had something to say about that, too.
“He tried to tackle me, and I stiff-armed him to the ground,” Smith said. “He threw a punch, and I kind of went after him after that.”
With the playoffs fast approaching, Smith is also the wrong guy to mess with in any situation. The touchdown on which he scored was a masterpiece. At 5-foot-9-inches, Smith still was able to leap above the fray, grabbing the ball in the end zone on a fade route in the first quarter. Did anyone mention he was being tackled as he caught it? Because he was, yet nothing was called.
It didn’t bother Smith one iota though. And it never will–especially not against the Saints, the one NFL team Smith has had the most luck against. “They don’t have to worry about me anymore,” Smith said. “They move on and I move on.” To the next victim, that is.