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Steve Smith changes mind on retirement and will play in 2016

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Smith ended speculation that he would call off his retirement by announcing his intention to return in 2016.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Smith plans to return to the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 after all, tweeting that he's ready to "give 'em Hell" in his comeback tour.

The Ravens wide receiver announced in August that 2015 would be his last season in the NFL, but when an Achilles tear ended his final season prematurely, there were immediate reports that the receiver wasn't happy with the way his career was set to end.

While Smith maintained that his decision to retire was final and laughed off reports that he wanted to return, those around him, including Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Smith's agent, continued to insist that he wanted to come back in 2016. On Wednesday he confirmed those reports:

Smith is 11th in career receiving yards with 13,932 and needs just 73 more yards to pass James Lofton for 10th all-time. He's also 29th in touchdown receptions with 76.

The Ravens struggled to replace Smith's production after the injury, with only Kamar Aiken finishing with more yards than Smith's 670. Unless Baltimore adds more receiving threats in the offseason, Smith still projects to be one of the better receivers on the roster in 2016, although recovery from an Achilles tear can certainly slow down a 37-year-old athlete.