Steve Smith retires from Buccaneers

Nick Laham

Steve Smith set a Giants franchise record for receptions, won a Super Bowl, and went to the Pro Bowl. But microfracture surgery cast a promising career awry, and now, he'll always be the "other" Steve Smith, retiring at just 28.

Steve Smith -- no, the other Steve Smith, the one who played for the Giants -- is retiring at the age of 28, citing nagging knee issues that prevented him from playing up to his potential after microfracture surgery in 2010.

Smith, who won a Super Bowl ring in 2008 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2009, was set to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this upcoming year after signing a one-year, $780,000 deal in the offseason. He was a ways down the depth chart for a team featuring Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, as well as decent backups in Tiquan Underwood and Kevin Ogletree, but still was expected to make the team's roster and contribute out of the slot before announcing his retirement.

Born in Alaska but raised in Los Angeles, the USC product was drafted 51st overall in 2007 by the Giants. He wouldn't play often his rookie season, but as the team's wide receiver depth waned, his importance grew. Memorably, he grabbed five catches for 50 yards in a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. His career blossomed in 2009, when he found a niche as the team's slot receiver and caught 107 passes, still a team record.

That would be nearly half of his career's total production. In 2011 with the Philadelphia Eagles, Smith was hampered by surgery and a bone bruise later in the season, accounting for why me made only 11 catches in nine games. With the Rams this past season, he brought in just 14 passes.

Ever timeless, the elder Steve Smith remains in the league, having led the Panthers in receiving last year with 73 catches for 1,174 yards. He'll be 34 this upcoming season.

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