Ravens sign former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith
By By Matt Zenitz Times Staff Writer
Mar 14, 2014 | 8:19 PM
Steve Smith's original plan was to visit multiple teams before making a decision on who to sign with.
He had a meeting scheduled with the New England Patriots for Monday, and he also received interest from the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks.
Smith said during a conference call Friday night that the Chargers even had an offer on the table.
But Smith arrived in Baltimore for a visit Thursday night. He met further with the Ravens Friday. And before Friday ended, the former Pro Bowl wide receiver had signed a three-year deal to join Baltimore.
"I really felt like after sitting here that this is a place that I felt best at, that fit me, and they convinced me that I would fit in here really well," Smith said.
"We've added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens," Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "Steve is a proven player who has performed his best in big games and on the biggest stages, like the playoffs and Super Bowl. He adds toughness to our offense, big-play potential and leadership to our team."
Smith also fills a position of need.
At the beginning of the offseason, Newsome listed some of the Ravens' top priorities for the offseason. One of them was adding a physical, Anquan Boldin-like pass-catcher that can make the difficult, contested catches in key situations that Baltimore's pass catchers so often struggled to make in 2013.
The Ravens get that in Smith.
"Steve is a Ravens-style football player," coach John Harbaugh. "He always has been in our eyes. It's just that he's been playing for another team. We've respected and admired the way he plays, and we've always been challenged playing against him."