After wide receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement from professional football earlier this year, his former Panthers teammate Ricky Proehl said that he hoped Smith would be honored by the team for what he did while in Carolina and Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he hoped Smith would come back for a ceremonial retirement as a member of the team.
The end of Smith’s time with the team came with a fair amount of acrimony and Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman sidestepped a question about signing Smith to a one-day contract when asked in January. It wasn’t something that seemed all that important to Smith at the time and it doesn’t look like anything has changed.
During a visit to the Rich Eisen Show, Smith was asked about the prospect and said that it isn’t a priority for him while noting that he still lives in Charlotte and that things could change in “due time.”
“I work for NFL Network, and it’s really not on my radar as of today,” Smith said.
The Jets reportedly spoke to Smith this offseason to gauge whether he was committed to retiring. Smith said that he is and also told Eisen that he believes he’d be suspended if he did try to return because he skipped several drug tests before filing all of the paperwork necessary for the league to consider him retired.
That has nothing to do with mending fences with the Panthers, obviously, but it’s a pretty good sign that any contract signings with NFL teams in Smith’s future will be of the ceremonial variety only.