As he moved closer to the start of his 15th and final NFL season, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was in his typically feisty mood Wednesday.
He challenged one reporter, who asked about the team's unproven receivers behind Smith, to take his suit and tie off and line up in press coverage against Kamar Aiken. He defended his actions during a preseason altercation against the Washington Redskins, which resulted in Smith Sr. getting ejected and fined. And he acknowledged that he's become very familiar with the NFL's rules against fighting.
"Rule 12, section 3. Do not punch, attempt, kick or forearm, which I did neither, nor," Smith said who is appealing the fine that he got for a pushing match with Chris Culliver of the Washington Redskins.
Smith's emotional and fiery way has been a popular topic this week as the Ravens prepare to face the Broncos and their Pro Bowl cornerback, Aqib Talib. Smith, who announced in August that this season will be his last, and Talib had a contentious battle two years ago on "Monday Night Football." Talib left the game with a hip injury, prompting Smith to issue his celebrated, "Ice up, son" line to the cornerback in a postgame interview.
"I would anticipate I'll go against both guys," Smith said of the Broncos starting cornerbacks, Talib and Chris Harris Jr. "Talib, he's a good player. We've had our battles but there's no animosity. It's high-competitive juices going. Obviously, with my Rule 12, Section 3 fine, I'll be well in tuned to what they'll be looking for."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he isn't concerned about Smith's emotions boiling over, vowing that "Steve is going to be focused and ready to play football, and it's going to be about football."
Asked about how difficult it will be to control himself, Smith said, "I'm a hot head, so I'm not sure. What's in the past is in the past. We're looking forward."