The Baltimore Ravens expected something else at the start of the 2015-16 NFL season.
They were bent on making another postseason run, with hopes of advancing to the big dance one more time.
Instead, they suffered one defeat after another – and in its last game versus the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore listed only its second win after eight games, 29-26, behind Justin Tucker’s field goal that gives the Ravens a 2-6 win-loss record going into bye week.
But it was also on that same night that the “bad birds of Baltimore” absorbed its biggest loss yet in front of their home crowd at the M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens star wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. went down hard in the third quarter. He was later on diagnosed to have suffered a torn right Achilles tendon – that puts an end to his season, and perhaps his career.
The 36-year-old Smith was hurt on a 17-yard completion late in the third period, and had to be carried off the field by members of the athletic training staff and was unable to put any weight on his right leg. He kept a towel over his face the whole way.
The team originally described it as a foot injury, but, shortly after the game, head coach John Harbaugh made the announcement that Smith had torn his Achilles tendon and would be out for the remainder of the season.
This is certainly was not how Smith, who moved to 10th spot in the National Football League’s receiving list, envisioned how he would ride off into the sunset. During the pre-season, Smith announced this would be his final year playing professional football.
The five-time Pro Bowler has been dealing with back problems all season and he had to sit out one game recently after suffering microfractures last month in a win against Pittsburgh.
In his 15 seasons in the NFL, Smith has listed 961 catches for 13, 932 yards and 76 touchdowns.