Former USC WR Steve Smith Retires From the NFL


Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Former USC great Steve Smith is hanging up his cleats from the NFL, as he announced his retirement today. The news comes less than a week after Mike Williams was signed by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, and he joins fellow early USC receiver retirees Dwayne Jarrett and Keary Colbert. Though Smith had a once-blossoming NFL career that was derailed by injuries, and wasn’t labeled an the ‘NFL bust’ like Jarrett.

Smith was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft and was on the team that beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. His best season in New York came in 2009, when he had a breakout year, catching 107 balls for 1,220 yards as the Giants’ No. 1 receiver, in the wake of the infamous Plaxico Burress shooting and arrest. He was selected to the Pro Bowl, but an injury kept him from a trip to Honolulu, and they would mount to subsequently derail his career.

In 2011, Smith was one of a slew of big free agent acquisitions by the Philadelphia Eagles, but a leg injury limited him to just nine games and 11 catches. Smith played with the Rams in 2012, but put up similar numbers, as the former Pro Bowler started just three games in the last two seasons, combined.

Smith signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent last month, but announced his medically-induced retirement today.

While at USC, Smith won two National Championships in 2003 and 2004, and was a big part of the nation’s best receiver corps during his time as a Trojan, while earning All-American honors in 2006.

As a freshman in 2003, Smith was a reserve behind Mike Williams and the aforementioned Colbert, then took over for Colbert as the possession receiver going into his sophomore season. Smith broke his leg in 2004, which caused him to miss much of the year, but he rebounded late in the year and in his two seasons as an upperclassman, completing his career with 190 catches and over 3,000 yards receiving.

Ironically, his biggest game came in the 2006 loss to Oregon State, when Smith had one of the best receiving days in USC history, making 11 catches for 258 yards and scoring two touchdowns in Corvallis.

Smith currently sits seventh on the all-time pass catching list, having been past by both Robert Woods and Marqise Lee in 2012.