Steve Smith came to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason in search of resurrecting a career that had been hampered by injuries. Instead the former USC receiver announced today that age 28, he’s retiring from professional football.
“I’ve been blessed to play the game that I love at the highest level for the past six years,” Smith said on the Buccaneers team website. “This was not an easy decision, but it’s the right decision for me at this time.”
“I will always cherish my time with the New York Giants and our Super Bowl victory in 2007. I also want to thank the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers organizations for the opportunities they gave me.”
A former second-round pick, Smith played a key role in the New York Giants’ win in Super Bowl XLII, setting a franchise record with 107 receptions in 2009.
Injuries piled up, however, and Smith was never able to duplicate the magic of his 1,200-yard, Pro Bowl season.
He spent a year trying in Philadelphia and then St. Louis, but lacked the explosiveness once seen on the perimeter that made him such a dangerous weapon for Eli Manning.
It was the faith of former Giants position coach Mike Sullivan, now the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, that brought Smith to Tampa.
Smith figured to compete with Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood for a role as the Bucs’ third receiver behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.
He finishes his six-year NFL career with 2,641 receiving yards, 245 receptions, and 12 touchdowns.