The Baltimore Ravens have endured one of the most trying NFL seasons in recent memory, as they watched star player after star player go down with injury on their way to an awful losing season. Through it all, Baltimore remained highly competitive under head coach John Harbaugh’s watch, and if everything falls into place, they could turn right back around in 2016 and be the Super Bowl contender many pegged them as going into 2015.

Getting star wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. back certainly couldn’t hurt. Per reports, Smith has cancelled his pre-decided retirement to come back for one more year. Smith was enjoying what had the makings of a career year through the first eight weeks of the season before tearing his Achilles tendon. It’s a brutal injury for anyone – let alone a so-to-be 37-year old wide receiver – but the gritty Smith intends to play out his contract and retire after the 2016 NFL season.

While history suggests Smith faces quite an uphill climb, few would put up money against him making a successful comeback. He wouldn’t necessarily need to be the guy that was ripping off 10-catch and 100+ yard performances in his age-36 season, either. Ideally, he’d be more of a complement to a Ravens offense that would get healthier across the board with the likes of Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Breshad Perriman all returning from their own injuries.

If all goes well, the Ravens would once again have the look of a top contender next season, not to mention the talent they could end up adding via free agency and the draft. Baltimore has done a solid job giving opponents tough fights all year, despite losing star pass rusher Terrell Suggs in week one and struggling through a shaky pass defense all year. If Baltimore can bring in another piece to help spark the offense, address what ails the defense and also get healthy again, they could be a real threat to the AFC – and possibly the entire league.

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