"Age comes, but football conditioning and routes and all that stuff, that doesn't change with age," said Ravens WR Steve Smith, Sr. when asked about what he's doing to combat the rigors of football at his age. (Kevin Richardson)
Ravens veteran wide receiver Steve Smith downplays his age (36), but he has to train extremely hard to maintain his high level of play.
The Ravens have had several players who have played past their prime, but as they got older they trained harder.
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis made the mountain run at Oregon Ridge part of his regular regiment and his former teammate, safety Ed Reed, love to build and train in sand pits. He had one built over at The Castle as part of his negotiations once.
Former Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe employed his own personal chef and she often followed him around at the team's old training facility in Owings Mills when it was time for lunch or dinner.
Smith was one of the few offensive starters who showed up for OTA practice on Wednesday and he still looks sharp. He still runs crisp routes.
"Age comes, but football conditioning and routes and all that stuff, that doesn't change with age," Smith said. "Obviously, you probably have to start a little bit earlier. But yes, I'm 36 and I remember last year when I signed here [the media was not] expecting anything from a 35-year-old. Now, [the media] has to pick on me because I'm 36. I'm just going to play football and practice. I think I look halfway decent.
"I think there are teams that probably [are] drafting wide receivers hoping that they can get a guy fresh out of a college [who is] able to put up 1,000 yards [like] I did at 35, [and] they're hoping a 20-something-year-old kid can do [it too]. I think age is a number, and you either show your age and that number over time … But right now, I feel good, and I'm playing well, so I think 36 is good."
Smith said he got over the team's Divisional playoff loss last season after he packed up and drove back home to his family.
"When I packed up my condo and I drove home, I had seven-and-a-half hours to think about it," Smith said. "And I walked to the door, touched the door handle, and I was done. [I was] moving on and got to be dad and doing all the stuff and traveling. So, moving on and [now] getting out here and learning some of the new nuances of the offense … There is a lot going on, so it's kind of hard to stay too far in the past when you have so many things moving forward with a new offensive coordinator."