It's hard to fathom a former Baltimore Ravens player decked out in black and gold during a Pittsburgh Steelers training camp practice. But that's exactly what happened earlier this week, when former All-Pro receiver Steve Smith Sr. took in a Steelers practice from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.
Smith, who capped off his 16-year NFL career with a three-year stint in Baltimore, made his presence felt as he watched Pittsburgh continue in its preparations for the 2023 season. He even caught passes from Kenny Pickett while displaying the skills that made him one of the most productive wideouts in league annals (videos courtesy of Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now).
Smith, who had a pretty heated rivalry during his Ravens years with then-Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, prepared Ravens fans earlier in the day by posting a photo of himself wearing a Steelers shirt prior to practice.
An analyst for NFL Network, Smith spent the majority of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers. Inducted into the team's Hall of Honor in 2019, Smith has held over 70 franchise records that include single season and career marks for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
Smith was actually close to facing the Steelers in a Super Bowl. In 2005, Smith -- after leading the NFL in receiving yards during the regular season -- caught fire in the postseason. He caught 27 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in three playoff games while leading the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers then defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL and in the process became the first sixth seed to win it all.
He won't have Smith to throw to this season, but Pickett will have plenty of other good skill players at his disposal. The Steelers have armed Pickett with a formidable group of playmakers that include wideouts Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin III, running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, and tight ends Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward.
Pickett and Co. will get their first preseason snaps this Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pittsburgh will open the regular season with a home game against the 49ers, who advanced to the NFC Championship Game each of the past two seasons.