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Steve Smith still loves the Panthers, but not Gettleman

Steve Smith AP

Steve Smith still loves Charlotte, and he still loves the Panthers, and he still loves team owner Jerry Richardson.

He might not have the same feelings after being fired by Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman.

“It doesn’t change my respect and relationship with the Panthers organization as far as Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and the family,” he said of his release, to host Taylor Zarzour on SiriusXM’s Bleacher Report Radio. “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 said there was a small degree of shock when Gettleman told him he wasn’t in the team’s plans, since he had always prided himself on his work ethic.

“That was the first time I’ve ever been fired, or let go,” Smith said. “That was a unique experience.”

So will being a free agent, and Smith joked that he was going to “enjoy a few free dinners” and allow himself to be pursued.

He said he’s been floored by the local reaction, which included a sparsely attended protest outside Bank of America Stadium this afternoon.

“How supportive everyone has been is shocking. It’s awesome, unbelieveable,” he said. “Charlotte and Mr. Richardson have given me an opportunity, a knucklehead from L.A., that I can call Charlotte home. This is my home. This is my home that I have learned to love and grow up in as an adult. . . .

“I’m being relocated for a new job. But my job is temporary. But my residence here in Charlotte is permanent.”

Smith probably won’t be free for long, as teams will want to move quickly on the 34-year-old receiver, especially one motivated to show one person in particular he can still play.

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24 Responses to “Steve Smith still loves the Panthers, but not Gettleman”
  1. steelerben says: Mar 13, 2014 2:12 PM

    I’d love to see him in black and gold to fill the Ward void. But, I know that won’t happen.

    Hard working, passionate and tough can go a long way towards shaping the personality of an offense. Even if he’s lost a step, he’s still going to be beneficial to whatever team signs him.

  2. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 13, 2014 2:14 PM

    He takes things personal. That’s Steve Smith and it’s what makes him a great competitor. Someone will get a highly motivated Smith and that’s going to be a good player.

  3. r8rsfan says: Mar 13, 2014 2:15 PM

    Pitstop in Oaktown for a couple of years.

  4. officialmiamidolphinsspokesperson says: Mar 13, 2014 2:15 PM

    denvers gonna grab him

  5. chawk12thman says: Mar 13, 2014 2:16 PM

    He will be in the NFC and likely with a team that plays the panthers this season, if not twice, at least once. I would love to see him do a deal with the Seahawks for a year or two. He would have to take #2/#3 money as that is where he would be there. However, with his fire, his work ethic and chip on his shoulder, he would be a huge asset. In fact, he will likely be a huge asset for any team. Gotta respect him.

  6. nnagi says: Mar 13, 2014 2:17 PM

    at least he finally admitted that he is a knucklehead…and that’s being kind

  7. grabgrabgrab says: Mar 13, 2014 2:18 PM

    Ice up boy!

  8. panthers4life59 says: Mar 13, 2014 2:20 PM

    Gettleman better get to signing some top players soon, because he’s letting quality players go for no reason. I’ll miss seeing Steve play in the blue and black.

  9. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 13, 2014 2:24 PM

    If I was the Panthers owner I would have said the money is not a problem because I can save a lot by axing Gettleman, heck I’ll just be the GM myself and you can be an assistant-GM if you would please come back to us.

  10. flacco8 says: Mar 13, 2014 2:24 PM

    Class act, which gets overshadowed by his demonstrative style on the field…

    Welcome to Baltimore Steve!! We play Carolina this year so you can have your revenge game!

  11. vikingworldorder says: Mar 13, 2014 2:26 PM

    “Bridgewater to Smith for a Vikings touchdown!”

    Gonna be hearing that a lot next year.

  12. trollaikman8 says: Mar 13, 2014 2:28 PM

    The league should force the Raiders to offer Smith a 7 year $65M contract. All guaranteed.

  13. edrouse says: Mar 13, 2014 2:32 PM

    as a miami fan always hated him when we played against him ..but would love to have him on our side …

  14. ohioteamsusuallysuck says: Mar 13, 2014 2:32 PM

    I think he could get 31 free dinners. He is a baller. Would look good next to josh Gordon in Cleveland!!!

  15. ctiggs says: Mar 13, 2014 2:44 PM

    always loved steve smith, he is a mans man

  16. qdog112 says: Mar 13, 2014 2:45 PM

    Gettleman is on a power trip. Nobody in that organization can be pleased with the off season developments. Though the Smith treatment broke the scales, Gettleman has disrespected everybody.

    Rivera has to know, he’s dead man walking. Gettleman blows up the team to get a bad record this year and next year he brings in his own hire at HC.

  17. fdugrad says: Mar 13, 2014 3:14 PM

    There HAD to be a more graceful way to handle the departure of an all-time franchise player. What is the REAL backstage story? It must have been personal in nature. There is some true HATE in there somewhere.

  18. motsuret06 says: Mar 13, 2014 3:36 PM

    Gettleman is an idiot and this debacle will come back to haunt the Panthers as they crash to a last place finish in the NFC South . Compared to Gettleman, Smitty is a class act.

  19. jgedgar70 says: Mar 13, 2014 3:46 PM

    OK, did all you idiots who keep talking about Smith as a guy who punches teammates and some kind of locker room cancer read all of that?

    DG, take note. Smith just showed you how to act with class. You obviously need the help.

    And with the obvious insinuation he wants to stick it to DG, you can narrow down which teams have a shot at signing him. He’s got 2 more years, 3 at max. So forget anybody in the AFC East (who we don’t play until 2017) and give very slim odds to anyone in the AFC West (who we play in 2016). All the AFC North and NFC East teams (we play them this year) are in play, as apparenty are the Bucs. I still think the best fit is in Baltimore.

    We will really miss you, Smitty. Maybe by the time you retire, DG will be gone and we’ll have someone in place who will sign you to a contract so you can retire as a Panther and be the first Panther player to get a statue outside the stadium.

  20. jgedgar70 says: Mar 13, 2014 3:48 PM

    First career Panther, that is – Sam Mills only played here a short time…

  21. godofwine330 says: Mar 13, 2014 4:32 PM

    Gettleman is a jerk and the owner is going to be sorry that he hired him to GM the team. Players are going to notice this and avoid the Panthers. Smitty handled it well, and as jgedgar70 put it, showed Gettleman how to act with class.

    I wish Smitty nothing but success.

  22. pantherfan40 says: Mar 13, 2014 4:47 PM

    gettlemans pissing me off , were loosing a bunch of starters and not signing anyone , were going to end up signing bums this is bs i dont feel like loosing this year after having a great season , i dont want history to repeat itself , we have so many holes its crazy , i hope he doesn’t think players like mcnutt and players like dockery are starting material wake up dave !!!

  23. pantherfan40 says: Mar 13, 2014 4:49 PM

    and were most likely miss out on nicks too hes visiting the chargers today then the colts tommrow doubt he goes past those 2 teams with no contracts so hard to stay positive as a panther fan

  24. turfrage says: Mar 13, 2014 10:09 PM

    Little humble pie won’t hurt him a bit. It’s a pure business decision. A good GM doesn’t make emotional decisions.

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