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Steve Smith confident the worst injury of career won't delay start of season

COLUMBIA, Md. -- Steve Smith called his torn Achilles the toughest injury of his 15-year NFL career and acknowledged that he remains in the early stages of his recovery.

But the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver seemed confident Monday that he would be ready for the start of the regular season. In fact, he poked fun at his targeted return to the field.

"In my little world, I would love to be 100 percent and absolutely do nothing in training camp," Smith said Monday after a free autograph session at Champ Sports, where he was promoting Under Armour. "That would be perfect. I’m not sure how that will flow with [coach John] Harbaugh."

Smith, 36, tore his right Achilles tendon against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 1 and missed what was supposed to be his final season in the NFL. He had surgery on Nov. 9 and announced in late December that he was delaying retirement for a year.

His focus is to remain patient and not try to do too much too soon. He's trying to walk without a limp -- he didn't show much of any walking around Monday -- and he has yet to attempt to run.

Asked if he would be ready for the start of the regular season, Smith said, "Yeah, I think I'll be fine."

Smith is known for his high threshold for pain, and teammate Justin Forsett predicted during the season that the five-time Pro Bowl receiver would recover ahead of schedule. "He's got Wolverine blood in him," Forsett said.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said last week at the NFL combine that he expected Smith to be ready for the start of the regular season. Smith, the oldest receiver in the league, ranks No. 11 on the NFL's all-time receiving list with 13,932 yards, and he could finish in the top five if he exceeds 1,195 yards in 2016.

Dr. Robert Anderson, who surgically repaired Smith's Achilles, gave him a positive report recently.

"No setbacks. No real pain where you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s a concern,'" Smith said. "Just all good stuff to start and move forward.”