Even through it’s very likely that Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. didn’t exchange Christmas cards this year, the two players certainly didn’t get into a war of words prior to Sunday’s game at Heinz Field like they have done before previous games between their respective teams. After the Steelers beat the Ravens on Sunday, Mitchell explained why he chose to keep a low profile this past week.
“I wanted to keep the emotions down because this was a highly emotional game for me,” Mitchell said, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “This isn’t MMA. This isn’t boxing. I really needed to rely on my 52 brothers for us to get the win. If it was a one-on-one type of sport, I’d just go slap his face off. But it’s not. It’s a 100-percent team sport, and my brothers came through and played great.”
Smith, who might retire after the Ravens play the Cincinnati Bengals next weekend, had a strong game Sunday against the Steelers as he caught seven passes for 79 yards and a score. End the end, however, it was Mitchell and the Steelers who had the last laugh, so to speak. After the game was over, Smith reportedly sat in his full uniform for about 30 minutes after the game had ended, according to Ravens official website.
During his talk with the media, Mitchell proceeded to give Smith a back-handed compliment of sorts.
“I want to say this, man, just to get it out there, I think he’s a great player. I think he’s a great competitor,” Mitchell said, according to Rutter. “Everything else is not football. It needs to be football. That’s what I play. … The number one thing for me to do today was come here and get a win.”
In past war of words between Smith and Mitchell, the Ravens wide receiver said the Steelers safety is on his “lifetime hit list.”
“The best thing I can do without threatening him and saying that I will assault him when I see him, is I will say I look forward to playing him again,” Smith said after beating the Steelers last season.
As many of you should already know by now, Smith and Mitchell were teammates for one season in 2013 with the Carolina Panthers. Smith then went on to sign with the Ravens in 2014 while Mitchell signed with the Steelers.
Smith is as tough as they come and if indeed next week is the final game of his career, it’s hard to imagine that he won’t one day wind up being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If that ultimately happens, I doubt Mitchell will be in the crowd to see him unveil his bust as he might have the urge to slap the face off it.