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Steve Smith: 'GMs hoping and praying' to find rookie like me

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Steve Smith isn't modest about this productivity at 34
Steve Smith isn't modest about this productivity at 34. (USATSI)

Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith doesn't lack for confidence. At all, even at the ripe, old age of 34.

In fact, Smith believes that despite his age, there "are GMs hoping and praying" they can find a rookie capable of what 89's doing at 34.

"If I lost a step, that's good, that's great. It may happen, it may not," Smith said. "But what I'm doing at 34, there are GMs hoping and praying they can draft a guy that can do what I'm doing."

You have to love that swagger. But you have to love the fact that it's 100 percent accurate. Rookies simply don't do what Smith is doing at 34 years old -- over the last two years he's averaged 76 catches, 1,284 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Smith looked finished in 2010 with Jimmy Clausen under center (and was the subject of trade rumors galore) but has seen a renaissance thanks to the Panthers drafting Cam Newton.

Only one rookie ever put up those numbers: Anquan Boldin, who caught 101 balls for 1,377 yards in his rookie season. In fact, only 13 rookies have ever caught more than 50 balls and 1,000 receiving yards in their first season.

That would be a down year for Smith in 2013 and he's showing no signs of getting "comfortable" with his lot in life.

"You're either comfortable, which leads to laziness, or you're uncomfortable, which leads you to work hard each and every day, where you work as if it's your first day vs. your last day,” Smith said Monday before practice. “The guys that get comfortable, those are the guys that leave."

Smith, apparently, doesn't have any plans on getting complacent for at least two or three years, which should be music to Panthers fans ears.

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