Wide receiver Steve Smith walked into the Ravens' training complex Sunday afternoon, smiling and upbeat with a bounce in his step as he headed upstairs to meet with coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Smith, 35, had already declared his intentions via Instagram to return for the second season of a three-year, $11 million contract signed last March and not retire, which backed up what sources said about his plans throughout the year.
The Ravens want the five-time Pro Bowl selection back after he caught 79 passes for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns during his first season with the team.
Just in case Smith wasn't giving himself enough time to process his decision one day after the Ravens' 35-31 AFC divisional-round playoff game loss to the New England Patriots, Newsome suggested that he take roughly three weeks to make sure that he still feels the same about returning.
"Like to keep him here. Steve has expressed to me now the desire to want to come back," Harbaugh said. "And one thing that Ozzie mentioned to him, which made a lot of sense, is to take three weeks. Take three weeks and get a chance to take a nap, figuratively, and kind of decide how you feel.
"But Steve was brimming with enthusiasm last time I talked to him to come back and play a role, whatever role that might be. He doesn't have to be a role where he's playing every snap or anything like that, but he looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to me. It's up to Steve, really, in the end -- how he feels and if he thinks he can do it physically."
Smith is known for his feisty nature, especially during the past when he got into some altercations with teammates with the Carolina Panthers.
With the Ravens, Smith was embraced for his competitive personality. He got into a few relatively minor practice scrapes with cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Chykie Brown during an offseason practice and training camp, but appeared to fit in well with the Ravens' locker room.
Smith frequently joked with teammates and occasionally with reporters. He did get angry with reporters after the Ravens' loss to the Houston Texans, but that was one of the few times he flashed his temper off the field.
"Like a lot of real competitive guys, sometimes it takes a moment for people around to understand, 'Where is this coming from?'" Harbaugh said. "He had mentioned that he feels like he fits in here. So, I think that we're good about that as a group, team and an organization -- of taking people where they're at, trying to look at their heart. And I think everybody felt like, 'Hey, this guy is a competitor. This guy is a fighter. He's a battler. He wants to do well and it matters to him.'
"And as long as the guys felt that way about him, I know they felt good about him, and they felt that way about him all year. That's how I feel about him. I think he was a huge addition to our team this year. We wouldn't have had the season we had without Steve Smith on our team this year, and I'm really happy for him for that -- proud of him and happy he's on our team."