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Steve Smith wishes the Panthers would have called him

Steve Smith AP

If the Panthers are trying to decide what to do with Steve Smith, he wishes they’d have asked him first.

Smith declined to talk about his future at Jordan Gross‘ retirement press conference today — saying the day should be devoted to Gross — but spoke with WBT-AM’s Keith Larson yesterday about recent remarks made by Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman, who said he was “evaluating” Smith’s role going forward.

“To be honest, I’m not really sure what to make of it,” Smith said. “That’s the first time I heard that being said. I wish I would have been afforded an opportunity to be given a heads up from our G.M. . . .

“The unfortunate part is, I had to hear it second hand. No one spoke to me face to face. It’s a little discouraging. I guess as they say it’s part of the business.”

The Panthers are walking a fine line with Smith, who has played his entire career in Charlotte and has indicated he plans to retire there. He has a $3 million roster bonus due this year, along with a $4 million base salary.

The 34-year-old wideout caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns last season. It’s well off his old pace, and they’d probably like to try to get his compensation back in line with his role.

“We’re going through the whole process,” Gettleman said at the Scouting Combine last week. “Steve’s had a great career. He really has. None of us are here forever. But that’s not to say, . . . he’s part of the evaluation process. That’s just the way it is.”

Maybe so, but leaving a prideful player like Smith hanging is an awkward way to be doing business, for a team with plenty of other issues to attend to.

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30 Responses to “Steve Smith wishes the Panthers would have called him”
  1. ingraven says: Feb 26, 2014 2:29 PM

    Uh oh. Steve Smith is gonna blow in 5…4..3..2…

  2. thepftpoet says: Feb 26, 2014 2:32 PM

    Steve Smith is way past his prime.

    He’s no Cordarelle Patterson.

  3. bucnblood says: Feb 26, 2014 2:34 PM

    Steve Smith is the biggest D bag in the league…and the perfect guy to mentor the next biggest D bag, Cam Newton.

  4. pilot2011 says: Feb 26, 2014 2:34 PM

    89 does far more than just catch passes. He is the heart and soul of the Panthers. And trust me when I say, there would be a riot if Steve Smith is ever cut from the Carolina Panthers.

    Gettleman better tread lightly. He has done a hell of a job since being in Charlotte, but he’s getting a little big for his britches when he starts offending 89.

  5. ziggystheansah says: Feb 26, 2014 2:34 PM

    Make sure Janoris Jenkins is at least 250 miles away from Steve Smith, he’s obviously upset right now.

  6. reesesteel23 says: Feb 26, 2014 2:38 PM

    Yea…I don’t understand why these guys, especially the guys that stuck with your franchise when you SUCKED cant get a frickin courtesy call….no wonder people hold out.

  7. chargrz says: Feb 26, 2014 2:39 PM

    Bye Bye Stevie!

  8. theclink12 says: Feb 26, 2014 2:44 PM

    “Ice up, Son”

    Still the best quote I have heard in long, long time.

    The NFL is a better place with Smitty in it.

  9. pilot2011 says: Feb 26, 2014 2:48 PM

    did Mike Glennon’s neck predict another 6 weeks of winter?

  10. CKL says: Feb 26, 2014 2:49 PM

    Maybe Gettelman meant it as a general statement and didn’t realize it would be interpreted that way by SS. But if Getleman didn’t call Smith before, he’d do well to call him now and tell him just that. SS doesn’t put a censor on his mouth and he may end up telling Gettleman to “Ice up, old man” publicly.

  11. qdog112 says: Feb 26, 2014 2:54 PM

    Like it or not, this is exactly what I posted two weeks ago, when Gettleman had not contacted any of his vets. Each player who’s status is changing deserved a phone call.

    Everybody who thinks Gettleman can do no wrong …are wrong. It doesn’t take much effort or professional respect to call your guys to let them know where they stand.

    I question Gettleman’s “I’m the boss and you’re not worthy a phone call attitude”. It doesn’t take much to topple what the Panthers have built.

  12. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 26, 2014 2:59 PM

    I think they should have traded Smith a long time ago. But if you aren’t going to trade him then you should respect him while keeping him. They got both things wrong. This team still needs a smart GM that can help them get to the next level, and Gettleman did a lousy job last year with the draft and the lack of trades and positioning of the team’s resources.

  13. eaglesfan21 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:07 PM

    Steve Smith might be older but he is still the veteran leader on this offense. His role is important for the Panthers to be successful this season again. They need to keep him and draft or sign a #2 receiver. Greg Olson and Steve Smith are important pieces on that offense for Cam.

  14. blmonroe12 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:14 PM

    I would avoid making Mr Smith angry if I were Gettleman, he doesn’t necessarily respond well to adversity. Anthony Bright and Ken Lucas would most likely agree, the reporter he called a butthole would probably be on board with the assessment too.

  15. jmethane says: Feb 26, 2014 3:15 PM

    Responding to this kind of situation with emotion is a fans job. The FO cannot afford to let emotion be involved if they want to do a good “job”.

    There is going to be a riot if he gets released? Better get your riot-gear ready because this is a business and it can get ugly in the last years of a players career. Especially if said team is on the cusp of being top-tier if not already.

    We love big Red Bryant in Seattle too. Maybe not quite the same but it is a ways down that road.

    Want to win a Superbowl?

  16. bcetour says: Feb 26, 2014 3:20 PM

    Leaders usually have big personalities. This works as long as the leader’s play are as respected as his personality. Example: Sapp.

    Time to go Smith

  17. Ed Bandell says: Feb 26, 2014 3:29 PM

    I wish Selma Hayek would call me.

  18. cosmoman11 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:35 PM

    Maybe his 64/745 has more to do with who is playing QB.

  19. jeremy84848 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:37 PM

    For the first time since his hire, I have to say I have no idea what Gettleman thinks he’s doing here.

    One of the lingering problems with Marty Hurney was that he developed attachments to “the core,” guys that he drafted and liked, and that led him to overpay and over-commit. Gettleman was supposed to be somewhat of an antidote to that; as someone from outside the organization, he could make personnel decisions with a healthy detachment.

    But this isn’t just any player, and I’m not sure Gettleman totally understands that. This is the best player in franchise history. Your all-time leading receiver and a fan favorite who remained as the identity of the team even during the terrible lean years. And he’s also a player who has proven extremely sensitive to slights, both real and imagined. He’s a player that every Panthers fan expects to retire wearing the uniform, perhaps in one or two more years and possibly even with the numbers to justify a Hall of Fame career. Treating him like this publicly is bizarrely arrogant and could backfire spectacularly.

    And to top it off — this makes no sense as a football decision. How are the Panthers a better football team without Smith? How is Cam a better quarterback without the target with which he’s developed the best chemistry? How is the locker room equipped to deal with potentially losing two offensive team captains in the same offseason? And why would the Panthers, coming off a 12-4 year, willingly go into this free agency period knowing that they needed to acquire not only two starting tackles, but also four wide receivers, including a no. 1 and no. 2?

    If there’s a plan here, I’d love to know what it is.

  20. FinFan68 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:39 PM

    This happens to most players every year. Smith wants a face to face meeting? It happened last year and the year before that.. The difference is somebody asked the GM this year.

  21. jimmyt says: Feb 26, 2014 3:44 PM

    For the sake of humanity the panthers need to keep Smith playing football. Do not unleash him on the civilian population.

  22. holla2626 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:52 PM

    Calm down – is it really surprising that GM’s
    “evaluate” players and their contracts during the off season? This is getting taken way too far

  23. sumkat says: Feb 26, 2014 3:52 PM

    The rest of the Panthers better watch out. This is exactly the kind of situation that causes Smith to sucker punch people

  24. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 26, 2014 3:54 PM

    What was Gettleman thinking?!?

    – Titans Fan Who Lives in Charlotte

  25. pilot2011 says: Feb 26, 2014 4:03 PM

    well said Jeremy

  26. Shinnbone says: Feb 26, 2014 4:16 PM

    Boo Hoo Hoo…..the organization that has paid you 10’s of million’s of dollars doesn’t owe you anything, bye bye it’s a business after all isn’t that the players say when they hold out for a new contract…”no hard feelings it’s a business decision” goes both ways!

  27. diehardsmithfan8812 says: Feb 26, 2014 4:23 PM

    You Mess with agent 89. you mess with the fans

  28. azarkhan says: Feb 26, 2014 4:41 PM

    Ice up son. It’s over.

  29. weepingjebus says: Feb 26, 2014 5:01 PM

    You don’t have to like him, but you can’t deny Smith has given everything to that team. For years, he was their only real player on offense, and he’d still suit up and drag 3-4 defenders all over the field week after week. He’s earned the right to finish out there on his terms, and besides it’s not like you can get him off the field unless he agrees to go anyway.

  30. grantownes4 says: Feb 27, 2014 11:31 PM

    Steve will be truly missed by almost every Panther fan. That being said, it’s time for some new blood in the receiving corps. It’s actually time for new talent at most positions on this squad. It is time to hand the reigns of leadership to our franchise QB. It would be hard to do this with all those established vets in the locker room. Gettlemen knows what he’s doing. Every organization he was a part of had sustainable success. Give the man 2 drafts. will finally be where we wanted our team to be as a fan base. Good luck Smitty whether here or elsewhere

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