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March 13, 2014

What's next for Steve Smith?

Steve Smith has been fired for the first time in his life.

After a 13-year career with the Carolina Panthers, Smith is looking for work, and he expects to play his 14th season in the NFL in 2014.

But it has to be the right fit for Smith, his wife Angie, and his three (and soon to be four) children.

Smith said he wants to continue playing for as long as he can successfully contribute to a team.

“I am no longer No. 1 wide receiver and I know that,” Smith told Taylor Zarzour on Sirius Bleacher Report radio on Thursday. “And I’ve been known that. And I don’t have a problem with that. I will adjust to whatever team and whatever role that I have. I think the only thing I would like to know is what that role is and what that expectation is, so I can exceed that. I don’t have a problem with any role that’s expected of me as long as I know what that role is.”

The “adjust to whatever role” comment deals with how the Panthers perceived Smith fitting in with the team moving forward. According to Observer sources, general manager Dave Gettleman viewed Smith as a distraction and the locker room couldn’t be turned over to the likes of Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly with Smith still there.

Gettleman’s statement Thursday reinforced that view, as the second-year GM said the Panthers were “a team in transition” and that the decision was in the “long term best interest of the Carolina Panthers.”

Smith told Zarzour his release, and how things were handled by the Panthers since Gettleman’s comments at the combine, will not affect his relationship with the organization. But it was clear his relationship with Gettleman has been fractured.

“It doesn’t change my respect and relationship with the Panthers organization as far as Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and the Richardson family, how they’ve done great things for me as a man and as an individual professionally and personally,” Smith said. “You can’t allow an individual or individuals change how much a corporation or organization that has treated me. And I won’t allow that to happen. I believe my legacy as a Carolina Panther exceeds one individual for a short amount of time.”

Smith said he will take his time deciding on a new team, and he’s gotten several text messages from players around the league urging him to join their pursuit of a Super Bowl. But Smith said he will do what’s best for his family, and he will tell whatever team that he goes to that he must be able to accessible to his family following his wife’s July delivery date.

The Ravens are reported to be heavily interested in Smith. And Baltimore plays Carolina in Baltimore next season.

About that…


--Jonathan Jones (h/t to Rob Paul for the audio)

Posted by Observer Sports on March 13, 2014 at 02:29 PM | Permalink


If Gettleman doesn't pull anything short of a miracle out of this free agent frenzy, he needs to be shown the door.

Posted by: Smitty | Mar 13, 2014 3:49:39 PM

I'd love to see him get a ring and make his 14,000 yard receiving goal. I don't think there is much chance he could have achieved either here. That's the only bright spot in this lame-brained, ego driven decision.

Posted by: Taylor004 | Mar 13, 2014 4:09:30 PM

Please go to Denver or N.E. !!

Posted by: Sean | Mar 13, 2014 4:11:27 PM

I hope he goes to Baltimore so we only have to play against him once. I can't see him still playing in 2018.

I guess we as fans have to remember to be careful what we wish for. We begged for a new GM for years, and we finally got one, and the new one is just as bad. The old one got mushy and over-paid his buddies. The new one just wants to gut the entire team to prove that he's the boss now. Way too much like Brian France.

The best major professional sports team in North Carolina is now the Bobcats. Talk about a fall off a cliff...

Posted by: J | Mar 13, 2014 4:15:06 PM

I loved Steve as a Panther but at the end of the day, this was coming sooner or later. I still think we have a great chance because it now forces someone to step up or we bring in new fresh blood. Besides, he still walk away with $5million, I don't think too many of us can say that for our job unless you're a CEO of a large corporation.

Posted by: qcdude | Mar 13, 2014 4:30:40 PM

What did I miss?

Posted by: Jerry Richardson | Mar 13, 2014 4:49:09 PM

Sad day!

Posted by: 10-4!! | Mar 13, 2014 5:20:13 PM

WHY does Richardson and Gettleman HATE us so much? Steve Smith is the HEART of the team. Time to FIRE Gettleman and have Jerry is LONG overdue for an Alzheimers exam and a nice rest in a nursing facility!!! What a low thing to do. Every time we seem to be making headway Jerry guts the team!

Posted by: DEEPLY ASHAMED | Mar 13, 2014 5:28:59 PM

this is insane. this dude just decided to blow up a 12-4 team. and he's lying to EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVERYBODY about how bad the cap situation is.

there's no reason to pay this dude 9 million to go play for somebody else and pay jon beason 8 million this year to go play for somebody else.

hurney signed the contracts...gettleman made them bad by not riding them out. but hurney will continue to be given all of the negative credit even though he assembled the 12-4 roster that gettleman is breaking up...............just because.

and ginn signed with arizona so now we have ZERO wide receivers and no punt/kick returner either. well done sir!

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 13, 2014 6:11:33 PM

I'm still gonna wear my Panther #89. 89 is more than 1. We'll miss you Steve thanks for the memories.

Posted by: Van | Mar 13, 2014 6:24:16 PM

We better go undefeated in 2014 and I bet not here we are trying to rebuild we have already done that. That excuse will not be tolerated.

Go get a life Gettleman and leave the panthers alone

Posted by: lovesteve | Mar 13, 2014 7:17:26 PM

Mutiny on the Mint st.?

Posted by: 10-4!! | Mar 13, 2014 9:06:48 PM

when they regress significantly in 2014....you guys going to give hurney some love or continue to drink the "cap hell" koolaid?

i know it's the latter, i just had to ask.

i'm not one of the clowns that rides richardson all the time because all in all he's a great owner.....but this is his doing. he ran off fox, which then cost hurney his job, which now led to smith being prematurely forced out (among others).

and you guys think our teammates don't feed off that ridiculous energy coming from that 5-9 freddy kruger (per gruden)? team intensity just went wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy the eff down.

how much you wanna bet hicks is at home in charlotte in disbelief about this and completely rethinking signing here because he doesn't want everything he does to be scrutinized and compared to steve smith. dude gets hurt......people will think about smith. dude drops a pass, people will think about smith. dude doesn't bring in 1300 yards, people will think of smith.

too many holes for one draft and a few bargain bin specials.

hardy is going to have to earn that 13 million playing both ways apparently. dude swore he could play WR last year.....let's see it.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 13, 2014 10:01:35 PM

I think there is more than meets the eye here. There's been talk that Gettelman's talked to coaches and players and that various people on the team seemed fed up with Smitty's fiery and "me first" attitude. I would not be surprised if Gettelman's just the executioner here and that others (Rivera, Cam, assistants..?) may have wanted him gone. There's been tons of silence from many incumbent coaches and teammates....if they really wanted Smitty back, you'd be hearing them speaking out in mutiny. Just sayin'.....

Posted by: PanthersD | Mar 13, 2014 10:18:43 PM

Gettleman is taking the heat for letting Smith go, but Jerry Richardson owns the team. If Richardson wanted Steve Smith to be with the team he would still be here.

Posted by: Bob | Mar 14, 2014 7:40:06 AM

"Blood and guts". Would the real Steve Smith stand up? Thus was not handled right but why not show character in the end. The NFL is a business.

Posted by: Glenn Eagle | Mar 14, 2014 9:05:41 AM

It was sad to see how the front office (GM) came to a confirmation of letting #89 go. It makes me wonder how that will play into contract negotiations with Newton come the end of his deal. Newton could choose to bolt and where would that get us. People clamored for #89 to go long time ago and they got their wish. #89 will always be missed and you bet your everlasting minds that you will miss Newton if he chooses to not look at the money and instead look how the GM conducted himself here this offseason. Newton may decide to leave. I pray not. Newton needs to remain here and since GM let #89 go Newton will be looking at 14.8 to 17.32 a year range. Dang I felt and said several years ago that Hardy was a baby Peppers, boy did he turn out to and the real Peppers got release. We were in constraints then and so are we now. I ultimately do not think it is or will be all that bad. Time will tell but boy it will be must see TV when if God matches #89 with a team that plays us. If in BofA, my God. We better be fully ready and prepared. We all know what #89 can do. I remember being at the game in 2007 week 2 versus the Texans and watching #89 catch the ball on our 29 and break tackle after tackle after tackle after tackle. You get my drift. TD So we will definitely have to be careful if he makes it to play against us. I really do not want to see it. Well I do want to see it just a little. Nonetheless we have other weapons and will continue to build through the draft. Nevertheless this should end up motivating the receivers that end up being on the roster. GO PANTHERS!!!

Posted by: BofAFanD | Mar 14, 2014 1:13:38 PM

We won't know if this was the right decision until next season. You have to admit that Smitty lost a step and isn't getting any younger. He even admitted that he is no longer a #1 receiver so why not draft a talented true #1 receiver. The only thing that I scratch my head about is the fact that they are still taking a 7 million dollar hit.

Posted by: nucat | Mar 14, 2014 1:43:52 PM

How do you, as a team that made the playoffs last year, get rid of your ONLY SERIOUS offensive thread at the receiver position!?!? The Panthers front office has to be the dumbest group of individuals in the history of the game of football. Steve Smith should have retired a Panther and your FO should do whatever it takes to make that happen. POINT BLANK. He is DEFINITELY an @$$hole, but he does his job SUPERBLY!! being a falcons fan, i hated to see him twice a year because i knew he always had something for us!! but i would LOVE to see him wearing the Red and Black and playing the slot position in our offense with Julio and Roddy playing the wide out. We would MURDER Carolina for the next few years and it would be sweet revenge for Smitty!! PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY DOWN 85!!! Matty ICE needs you!!

Posted by: Falcon Fan FOREVER | Mar 14, 2014 2:32:40 PM

Who ever smith plays for next i hope they kick gettleman's teams ass all over the field!!!!!!!

Posted by: rick mccrimmon | Mar 14, 2014 5:15:05 PM

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