Steve Smith Sr.'s son will play college soccer in the fall

Steve Smith Sr.'s son will play college soccer in the fall
In this Oct. 18, 2015, file photo, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. catches a 34-yard touchdown pass in front of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea and cornerback Kenneth Acker during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ben Margot / AP)

Chicago sports fans probably wish they never see another jersey with SMITH and 89 on the back.

During the 2005 NFL playoffs, Steve Smith Sr., now with the Ravens but then with the Panthers, roasted the Bears' secondary for 12 catches, 218 yards and two scores.


Steve's oldest son, Peyton, remembers his dad sliding down the Soldier Field goal post. Now Peyton is a Chicagoan, a freshman soccer player at DePaul who asked for No. 89 but was told it was not available.

"It would have been cool, but it's not a big deal," said Peyton, who plans to wear No. 23 for the Blue Demons.

Soccer, rather than football, has been Peyton's passion since the seventh grade.

"The quickness of the game, the nice finishes … it's beautiful to watch," he said. "Never a dull moment."

The same could be said for Steve Smith's Hall of Fame career, which has been marked by creative end-zone celebrations (snow angles, fencing, a diaper change with the ball) and a seemingly unmatched will to corral the football. Smith, 37, is rehabbing a torn Achilles and wants to squeeze out a final season with the Ravens.

Peyton said his intensity "is not to the same level. I don't know if anyone can match that. But I have a little spark."

The 5-foot-7, 155-pound Smith scored 30 goals and had 28 assists last season in 22 games for Carmel Christian School, near Charlotte, N.C. One of his youth coaches, Casey Carr, played soccer at DePaul and recommended that Blue Demons coach Craig Blazer take a look.

Blazer said Smith's strengths are his speed and quickness: "We'll work with him to make improvement with his technical foundation. The jump to Big East college soccer is very challenging and it will take time. We'll use him in an attacking role and see if he's a good ball-striker and finisher."

Peyton said he's enjoying Chicago. He wore a Cubs jersey Saturday to Wrigley Field, taking in a game with his parents and brothers: Boston, 11, and Deuce, 2.

"There's a lot more to do here than in Charlotte," he said.

And there's this bit of good news: Blazer said assigning Smith a No. 89 jersey would have been too much for him as a freshman. "Will make it happen in the future," Blazer texted.