Steve Smith had planned to retire with Panthers after 2014 season

AP

Panthers receiver Steve Smith had planned the end to his career.  Until the Panthers had other plans.

Smith, now with the Ravens after being cut in Carolina, recently explained that he had planned to play one more year with the Panthers before retiring.

“The only people who knew were my close friends and my wife,” Smith told Don Banks of SI.com.  “I had been waking up every day about 3 a.m. and wrestling with some things in my quiet time. . . .  I finally decided and made the commitment to my family. I told them, ‘I’m done.  I don’t think I can do it much longer.  My knee was sore and I knew all the work I had put into my career and what it would take.  I came to terms with it, that this year was going to be my last year ever playing football.”

The team’s decision to end the ride a year early has prompted Smith to alter his timeline.

“When I got released, and how it happened, it made me feel a certain way,” Smith told Banks.  “It gave me a little bit maybe that I had been missing. My wife said, ‘How do you feel about that?’  And my response was to start working out again every day after that.  I started jogging, my knee started feeling better, and the next thing you know, I got a three-year deal here.”

So how much longer will he play?

“After this contract with the Baltimore Ravens, I am done,” Smith said.  “I’m going to be stay-at-home dad, and I’m going to get on with the rest of my life’s work.  I know sometimes there are people saying, ‘Oh, he needs to just let it go.’  Believe me, I will.  I’m going to let it go.  But I’m going to take a few people down with me.  Not in spite, but just fun.  I’m going to enjoy playing ball again.  I’m going to have fun here.”

The guys trying to cover him and tackle him may not feel that way.  Especially when the guys from Carolina show up in September to try to deal with the man who spent 13 years in Charlotte.

29 responses to “Steve Smith had planned to retire with Panthers after 2014 season

  1. There is not a player in the NFL who would NOT want Steve Smith as a teammate. He can go over the top, but it’s all based on his desire to win.

    Without him those mediocre Panthers teams would have been 3-13 teams. As a Panthers fan who criticized him for his conduct at times, I know that his positives far exceed any perceived negatives.

    I wish him luck.

  2. Some guys talk abut being motivated by some perceived slight, and are. Some guys talk about being motivated, but aren’t really.

    I think he’s in the first group.

  3. After a season of trying to pick jump-balls out of the air, (and getting locked down 2x by Ike) he’ll want to keep his plan. 1 day contract to retire a panther.

  4. “My response [to being released] was to start working out again every day after that. I started jogging, my knee started feeling better …”

    Wow. And I mean WOW. So much for being the Panthers’ king of work ethic. And it was going to be his last year? Boy, were they ever right to let him go. He’d been great, but it was time obviously.

  5. Looks like the Panthers did the right thing. By his own admission he was half assing it. Getting canned lit the fire that was long gone.

  6. Ravens will still have one of worst offenses in the NFL regardless of who they put at WR.

    Panthers will also have a god awful offense. Top 2 WRs are Benjamin and Avant? Good luck.

  7. Have fun up there, Smitty! Your a pleasure to watch and we wish you the best.

  8. I don’t root for the Ravens much, but I will be doing so when they play the Panthers.

  9. Steve Smith is a broken down has been who goes off the deep end on his own team during playoffs ( I never enjoyed anything more than watching him go ballistic on the sidelines in the 2005 season NFC Championship game in Seattle ) & punches his own teammates in the face during practice ( Ken Lucas ) .

    The Panthers have nothing to worry about …

  10. It sounds like he built his motivation for a great 2014 season. AFCN going to need to ‘ice up son’!

  11. I disagree with the assertion that he wasn’t working hard. It sounds like he was dealing with the aches and pains of being an aging athlete, then he gets unceremonially dismissed by the only team he’s played for, and he just kicks it into an even higher gear than he normally has, which is very high. He is one of those people that plays best when he’s disrespected – in reality or his mind. He’ll have an excellent year.

    I doubt he plays all 3 years. He’ll get 1 or 2 years and then be released in a cap-saving move. Hopefully then he comes back here and retires as a Panther on a 1-day deal.

    AFC North DBs – Ice up, sons!

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