Some days, like on Monday when he seamlessly moved around posing for pictures and signing autographs for Ravens' fans, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. doesn't feel like a 36-year-old who had surgery to repair a torn right Achilles about 3½ months ago.
Then, there are other days when he steps out of bed and feels the tightness in his foot immediately.
"For me really right now, I'm just taking it slow," Smith said Monday night while making an appearance on behalf of Under Armour at the Champs Sports store at the Mall in Columbia. "I'm not going to try to do too much. [I'll] attempt to have some patience. But other than that, just trying to get my body to get back. I've been walking and trying to walk without a gimp. I'm not running or any of that stuff yet.
"It's coming along. I'm not where I would like to be … but it's pretty good."
If Smith, who tore his Achilles after making a catch in the Ravens' Nov. 1 victory over the San Diego Chargers, has a timetable for ramping up his activities, he's keeping it to himself. He recently had a follow-up appointment with his surgeon, Dr. Robert Anderson, in Charlotte, N.C., and got a positive report of his progress.
"All good stuff," Smith said.
His main goal is to avoid any setbacks that would delay his return to the field. As things stand, he expects to be ready when the Ravens open the 2016 regular season in September. Smith announced in December that he'll return for a 16th NFL season and third with the Ravens,
"I think I'll be fine," said Smith when asked about his potential availability for the season opener. "I've not had a lot of injuries. This is kind of tough."
One thing Smith won't do – at least if he has his way – is rush back for training camp.
"As a veteran, I want to do as [little] as possible," Smith said with a wide smile. "I've never met a veteran that says, 'Hmm, training camp, let me do all the work I possibly can.' In my little world, I would love to be 100 percent and absolutely do nothing in training camp. That would be perfect. I'm not sure how that will flow with [coach John Harbaugh]."
Smith had 46 catches for 670 yards and three touchdown receptions before he went down with the Achilles' injury. He is 39 receptions short of 1,000 for his career. The Ravens are counting on Smith to lead a young receiving group.