Steve Smith will always have a place in the hearts of Carolina Panthers fans. He spent 14 seasons with the Panthers and was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL during many of them. However, Smith did not leave Carolina on the best terms after general manager Dave Gettleman reportedly felt that he had become a distraction.
After he was released on Thursday, Smith had nothing but praise the city of Charlotte, Panthers fans and team owner Jerry Richardson. He was not as kind to Gettleman.
“It doesn’t change my respect and relationship with the Panthers organization as far as Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and the family,” he told Taylor Zarzour on SiriusXM’s Bleacher Report Radio, via Pro Football Talk. ”They’ve done great things for me as a man and professionally. You can’t allow an individual or individuals to change how much a corporation or organization has treated me. 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 added that he is being relocated for work but will always consider Charlotte his home. In a separate interview with WFNZ’s Frank Garcia and Mark Yarbro, he was a bit more animated.
“I want to make sure that whatever team I go to, they’re going to get the best, in shape 35-year-old guy they can get,” Smith said, per PFT’s Josh Alper. “If that happens to run through Bank of America Stadium, put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.”
By that, Smith means he’s going to give it his all against his former team. That is to be expected, since he is one of the most emotional players in NFL history.
If you ask me, Smith has handled his release well. You can’t blame him for not liking Gettleman. Good on him for not letting his emotions toward one individual taint what should be an amicable farewell.Google+