Steve Smith thrashes Michael Irvin on TV, says he went to route running 'community college'

The second Steve Smith's hire was announced by the NFL Network, it was obvious the former Panthers and Ravens receiver was going to make for excellent television. Smith was one of the fieriest dudes in the history of the game on the field, a next-level trash talker, and he allowed his football-playing persona to carry right over into the broadcast booth. 

He has not shied away from being open and honest both in retirement and in broadcasting work and if someone manages to cross him on air, he will burn them to the ground. This has happened once with Michael Irvin, when the former Cowboys wideout mocked Smith's pants, and it happened again on Thursday night before the Ravens-Bengals game.

Irvin was lamenting the wide receiver groups that Joe Flacco's played with over the past decade or so, noting that Flacco hasn't had one really good receiver since Anquan Boldin was playing in Baltimore.

As just about everyone knows, Smith was a Ravens receiver after Boldin and was, for a while, Flacco's No. 1 target in Charm City. Suffice to say, Smith did not appreciate the claim by Irvin. 

When Smith questioned Irvin's claim, Irvin pointed out Smith was old and he was injured when he played in Baltimore. Smith launched a counter attack on Irvin before even beginning the discussion, noting that he's aware Irvin has rings.

"I understand you have the rings, but I passed you statistically YEARS ago," Smith said.

Irvin replied by noting he has "enough rings to let y'all all borrow one and still have some." 

And then things took off, with Smith firing a nuclear missile at Irvin on live television.

"I concur and I agree with your rings, but at the same time there ain't no route I couldn't run that you hoped you could run," Smith said. "I got a doctorate in route running. You got an associate's degree, playa. Community college."

AYYYYYYYYE. At the end of the day, Irvin is going to win most arguments about success as a wide receiver because at the end of the day, football arguments come down to one thing: rings. And Irvin has three of them. That's a lot more than most people who played the game end up holding, even superstar wide receivers. 

Smith is right though -- his numbers are far superior to Irvin's stats, with Smith checking in at No. 8 on the all-time receiving list and Irvin sitting far below at No. 27. They played in different eras, but Smith's claim that he's a better receiver, independent of the team success around them, is a fair one. They both led the league in receiving one time, and Smith had one more thousand-plus yard receiving season than Irvin. 

But Irvin's got the rings and the gold jacket -- Smith might likely earn the latter, but the former won't ever be coming his way.

Fortunately for him, he has sick burns for days, and he just dropped one on Irvin that will help boost his pre-show ratings once people realize he's not scared to set the world on fire while talking on live television. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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