Steve Smith wants to be the best wide receiver in history or at least the statistical leader.
His goal: Be unstoppable no matter what plays he runs.
Another goal: Finish his career as one of the leading pass-catchers in NFL history.
Smith, the Panthers’ star receiver, revealed Monday that he has a laminated piece of paper listing the league’s all-time leaders in receiving yards.
Atop that category is former 49ers great Jerry Rice (22,458), followed by ex-Raider Tim Brown (14,934).
Smith said he typed a challenge for himself and affixed it to the paper: “Where will I be at the end?”
At age 29 and entering his eighth NFL season, Smith has 431 receptions for 5,927 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Smitty is already unstoppable. Last season, when the Carolina Panthers offense was having to rely on him because of the mess at quarterback, he still managed to do damage to the tune of 87 catches for 1002 yards and 7 touchdowns.
But if he’s setting his sites on the top of the NFL’s list of receivers, he’s got a ways to go.
For the sake fo argument, let’s say he plays another seven seasons and averages 100 catches per season and 1000 yards. He would still be over 400 catches and nearly 10,000 yards behind Jerry Rice. Keep in mind that Rice played for 21 years.
Sure, if Smith plays that long he can catch him but it’s a stretch for anybody to play that long and avoid injury. Either way, he’ll need no fewer than 600 grabs and a little over 8000 yards to rank statistically among the top four in either category.
If anybody in the NFL can do it, it has to be Steve Smith. He’s asking himself now where he will be at the end. Continuing on his present course, he will be in the rarified air of some of the greatest receivers ever.