Steve Smith Talks Being Cut From Carolina Panthers & NFL Future
Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith called into WFNZ’s “Bustin’ Loose” in Charlotte, NC, today to talk about his recent release from the organization he’s called home for the past 13 years.
While in Salt Lake City with his family, Smith heard for the first time comments from GM Dave Gettleman at the NFL Combine about the team’s uncertainty of keeping him around for next season.
“I would love to just hear that privately before making those statements publicly,” says Smith.
After meeting with Gettleman and the Panthers organization in Charlotte, Smith realized that this would be the “first time he’s ever been fired or let go from a job.”
You can tell in the interview that this whole process of being let go from a job is new, awkward, and “the hardest part” for Smitty, who has deeply entrenched himself and his family in the Panthers organization and Charlotte community for years.
But Carolina Panthers fans…rest assured from Steve Smith himself: “A contract is a piece of paper, and I will ALWAYS be a Carolina Panther.”
Still worried that he harbors ill will against the franchise?
“I love this community, and this community loves me, and that’s why whether I play or don’t play, I plan to grow old with my wife in the Charlotte community, and I plan on being buried in the Charlotte community.”
Smitty has talked with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and “thanked him for the opportunity that he’s given me as a man…as an employee for the years of service he’s allowed me to work here. For giving me a home…and a safe place to raise my children.”
He goes on to say that he doesn’t have anything bad to say about the Richardsons or the entire Carolina Panthers organization
“I’m not going to allow maybe an individual that I’ve interacted with for maybe six months or a year to change the relationship that I have with multiple people in that organization for over 13 years. That will never happen, and I won’t do it. Never do it.”
After all of the ‘dust has settled’ from his release, Smith is prepared to finally, spend time with his family, and take his son to a college soccer camp.
“Football is a part of my life. Being a husband and being a father is my life.”
Approaching 35-years old and being in the NFL free agency, Smith says he’s ready to eat “at some expensive restaurants, order some nice good steaks, and see what people have to say.”
But don’t let his age put doubts that another NFL team that might sign him:
“They’re going to get the best, in-shape 35-year old guy that they can get. And if that happens to run through Bank of America Stadium, put your goggles on because there is going to be blood and guts everywhere.”
So by the end of next season, we’ll see from the Panthers’ arguably best player of all time who has the last laugh: Steve Smith or Dave Gettleman.
“It’s a new chapter in this book of my life,” says Smith. “But there are phrases in this chapter that will carry on…ICE UP SON!”
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