Steve Smith on 13-year Panthers career: 'I'm moving on'

By Ryan Wilson |

Steve Smith has put his Panthers career behind him. (USATSI)
Steve Smith has put his Panthers career behind him. (USATSI)

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Steve Smith may no longer be a member of the Carolina Panthers, but he and his family will continue to live in the area and he plans to honor his commitments, like he did over the weekend when he appeared at zMax Dragway in Concord, NC.

In addition to climbing behind the wheel of a dragster, the new Raven talked about how his 13-year career in Carolina ended this offseason (along with just about every other veteran receiver on the roster).

“Not that I'm upset, not that I'm mad. It's just the facts of the business,” Smith told the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person. “Brandon LaFell is a New England Patriot. Ted Ginn is an Arizona Cardinal. And Domenik Hixon a Chicago Bear. Those are my brothers, those are my friends.

“Who your current employer is does not eliminate or change the friendship and the camaraderie that you've built over the years. ... Just because we collect checks from different organizations doesn't mean that all of a sudden we cut each other off.”

Shortly after the Panthers parted ways with Smith, coach Ron Rivera said that the 35-year-old didn't have "top-end speed like he used to." It wasn't a lie, but the timing could've been a little better. Either way, Smith is unconcerned.

“What's in the past is in the past,” he said. “At the end of the day, you go to the kitchen, you get a washcloth, you pick up the spilled milk and you move on. That's what I'm doing. I'm moving on.”

But that doesn't mean he's not grateful for the Panthers organization giving him his NFL start.

“I have nothing bad to say about Mr. Richardson or the organization," Smith said. "And I won't. And I refuse to because they deserve nothing but my respect. At the end of the day, they've done great things for me, given me an opportunity to bless my family.”

Meanwhlle, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams said recently that he's "still in shock" at how the Panthers' offseason has unfolded, but has some advice for fantasy football owners: “I joked with people that my fantasy value went up after we got rid of our four receivers, but it's the truth,” he said last week. “I went from probably being drafted in the fifth and sixth round to being in the first round -- me and Jonathan (Stewart) alike because we have no receivers.”

So there's that.

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