Steve Smith planned on retiring with the Panthers in 2015

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith told Don Banks of SI.com that he planned on retiring with the Panthers after the upcoming season.

“The only people who knew were my close friends and my wife,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon.

“This year was actually going to be my last year in Carolina. I was going to retire. I was done. I had been waking up every day about 3 a.m. and wrestling with some things in my quiet time.

“I finally decided and made the commitment to my family. I told them, ‘I’m done. I don’t think I can do it much longer. My knee was sore and I knew all the work I had put into my career and what it would take. I came to terms with it, that this year was going to be my last year ever playing football.”

Things changed when Carolina released Smith and he signed a three-year contract with Baltimore.

“When I got released, and how it happened, it made me feel a certain way,” Smith said, moments after finishing an impressive OTA workout at the Ravens’ team complex. “It gave me a little bit maybe that I had been missing. My wife said, ‘How do you feel about that?’ And my response was to start working out again every day after that. I started jogging, my knee started feeling better, and the next thing you know, I got a three-year deal here.

“After this contract with the Baltimore Ravens, I am done. I’m going to be stay-at-home dad, and I’m going to get on with the rest of my life’s work. I know sometimes there are people saying, ‘Oh, he needs to just let it go.’ Believe me, I will. I’m going to let it go. But I’m going to take a few people down with me. Not in spite, but just fun. I’m going to enjoy playing ball again. I’m going to have fun here.”