Ravens WR Steve Smith on learning a new offense at age 35, the transition from teal to purple and why the name on the back of his jersey changed too
Three questions with …. Ravens receiver Steve Smith.
The MMQB: You have "Smith Sr." on the back of your jersey now. Why the switch?
SMITH: On July 2, my wife (Angie) and I had our third son. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a junior. My first name, the name I go by in our family, is Stevonne. Each one of my kids' middle name is named after somebody in our family. Peyton's middle name is Stevonne. Boston's middle name is Gene, my wife's great grandfather's first name. "Deuce" is Stevonne Smith Jr. The significance is all the boys in my family are named after someone else. It was a big deal for me, and obviously I'm older too. I just thought that's who I am. I'm proud of my family, I'm proud of being a dad. Each one of my son's has a special place in my heart and each one has a different personality and each one of them has a name of significance, so that's the reasoning behind it.
You were with the Panthers for 13 years, and now you're here. What's the biggest difference to you?
SMITH: It's a high tempo, high energy, playing music throughout the whole practice ... it's just a different deal. This is the standard they've set and I just enjoy going through the process of learning a new system. It's pushed me mentally. This will be my fourth offense and this a totally different offense that I've learned. The last time I've done a West Coast offense was my rookie year and I struggled to get that. But it's really challenged me and I really enjoy the challenge. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. I'm not comfortable about doing it and so that means I have to put in that hard work, those after-hours studies. I've got flash cards. I'm trying to hone it in. You always hear about older guys going to new teams and they don't fit in because of whatever reason. I want to be able to fit in. The ability and capacity to retain information and do it at a high level will not be the excuse.
You seem like you were born to wear this purple uniform. Do you feel that way?
SMITH: (A big smile comes to his face and he nods) I feel like things work out for a reason. This is my time and I'm going to enjoy every moment of it.