Here's how the wrong Steve Smith was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame
The former Panthers and Ravens wide receiver is not yet eligible
for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class on Tuesday night, with many of the usual suspects highlighting the list for the first time, including former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and former Patriots and Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss.
Also joining them was former NFL receiver Steve Smith.
One problem: it's not the former receiver for the Panthers and Ravens turned NFL Network analyst Steve Smith, who is the Steve Smith you would expect to see nominated. That Smith isn't eligible for induction yet,. In order to be nominated, players must be five years removed from their playing career.
Instead it's former Giants, Eagles and Rams wide receiver Steve Smith, who ended his career in 2012. That Smith was briefly a fantasy football darling, bursting on the scene in 2009 with New York when he caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns.
CBS Sports' Fantasy Commissioner product, the best in the biz bar none, saves draft results back into eternity, so I checked to see when that Steve Smith was drafted in 2010. He went just a round after the REAL Steve Smith that year, going in the fourth round to a team that will remain unnamed. He did have more yards and catches than the Panthers Steve Smith in 2009, so it wasn't that crazy. Maybe.
The other Steve Smith would have a season shortened by injury in 2010 and catch just 48 passes for 529 yards. Although he actually outperformed the Real Steve Smith again, but only because RSS was playing with Jimmy Clausen the year before Cam Newton was drafted.
RSS would burst onto the scene again in 2011 -- we wouldn't really hear from OSS until this very moment.
According to USA Today, this was indeed a mistake, although one of just odd circumstances. Other Steve Smith was actually eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having played his last season at least five years ago and having made at least one Pro Bowl or All Pro team in his career (2009, natch).
Additionally, the Hall of Fame said that OSS was actually nominated by a fan through a fan voting site on NFL.com that contained, for a time, an erroneous photo of Real Steve Smith on the page with OSS. It's hard enough that we're using acronyms at this point. Poor Other Steve Smith.
So really, it was just a result of everyone being confused and OSS getting the nomination instead of Agent 89. Real Steve Smith stands a pretty good chance of being inducted into the Hall, having made five Pro Bowls and ranking seventh in receiving yards all-time. His personality and high-profile gig after retiring won't hurt him either.
But unfortunately he will not be eligible for at least a few more years.
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