Ex-Giant Steve Smith retires

Steve Smith, who once was Eli Manning's favorite target and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII, retired on Wednesday.

Smith announced his retirement through a statement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who signed Smith for this season.

“I’ve been blessed to play the game that I love at the highest level for the past six years," Smith said in the statement. "I will always cherish my time with the New York Giants and our Super Bowl victory in 2007.

"I also want to thank the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers organizations for the opportunities they gave me. This was not an easy decision, but it’s the right decision for me at this time.”

Smith never fully recovered after suffering a serious knee injury during the 2010 season that required microfracture and mosaicplasty surgery. That was just a year after he had his best season ever with a single-season franchise record 107 catches for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns to make the Pro Bowl in 2009.

And during his rookie season in 2007, the second-round pick out of USC helped the Giants win the Super Bowl with five catches for 50 yards, including a pivotal one to convert on a third-and-11 with 40 seconds left on the game-winning drive.

The Giants offered Smith a five-year, $35-million contract extension in 2010 with much of it not guaranteed. Smith turned down the extension hoping to see what he could get on the market before getting injured in December of that year. The following summer, Smith signed with the Eagles as a free agent for a one-year, $2 million deal that infuriated the Giants' fan base.

But Smith was never really the same player again. The Giants knew he needed time to recover when he signed with the Eagles. Smith had a total of 25 catches and one touchdown with the Eagles and Rams the past two seasons.

With Smith gone, Victor Cruz filled the Giants' slot receiver spot and emerged into a star. Now, as Cruz is trying to negotiate a lucrative long-term extension with the Giants, his predecessor has retired.

Tell us what your favorite Steve Smith memory was below.