Steve Smith Sr. still hasn’t quite hit his growth spurt … or so he says (he currently stands at 5-foot-9-inches), but he has done a lot of growing up since leaving the University of Utah in 2001.
The former Utah wide receiver-turned-NFL star is currently an analyst for the NFL Network where he makes constant appearances on “NFL GameDay First,” and he seems to be enjoying all the extra time he has now that he is retired. In fact, the most difficult part about his post-playing life isn’t learning the ins and outs of being an analyst — more than anything he says that is just becoming familiar with the administrative side — the challenge is trying to figure out what to do with all his extra free time. But it seems like he is dedicating each spare moment he does have to his family.
Smith, the five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, was one of the seven members inducted into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame at Saturday’s football game against Arizona State University. And his entire family was in Salt Lake City to witness the ceremony and, of course, the game itself.
Smith was a standout wide receiver in the NFL. He played for 16 seasons, 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers and three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and over the course of his career, he recorded a total of 14,731 receiving yards. That number is good enough for seventh best in NFL history.
So naturally, his kids grew to love football, too. And whenever there was a Saturday when his team wasn’t traveling and he got to stay home, he and his family would always make sure to have the TV turned to whatever channel the Utes were playing on (granted there was some channel-flipping when they weren’t in action).
That’s what made this Saturday’s event a little bit more special — the fact that not only was he going to be honored, his sons and daughter were going to venture to the venue they had grown to love by virtue of watching the Utes year after year.
“To be here in a stadium that we’ve watched over the years, it means a lot to us and our family that we get to experience it together,” Smith said.
In his two seasons at Utah (1999-2000), Smith recorded 1,603 receiving yards for a total of 12 touchdowns.
Smith spoke to the Utah football team before the game got underway against the Sun Devils. And even though he sees the importance of giving back to the school that essentially propelled him into the national spotlight when he was drafted in the 2001 NFL draft in the third round, his priorities remain his family, because what matters most is what happens after those four years of college.
“There’s parts of this game, this sport, that are the worst four years of your life and the best four years of your life,” Smith said. “After this, you have to make real responsibilities. … So enjoy this. Right now [they] get to be young kid[s].”
Currently, Smith calls Charlotte home. His days consist of making breakfast for the family, conference calls about football, homework with his youngest son, taking his 12-year-old to football practices, date nights with his wife, football games on Saturdays and then a flight, depending on when his son’s game is because again, family comes first.
On Sundays, it’s just some more football as he gets to work.