Ron Rivera thinks Steve Smith should retire a Panther


Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith announced what amounts to his intention to retire after Sunday’s Ravens game.

But his former team — or at least part of it — would like him to eventually come home.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he thought Smith could keep playing if he wanted to, and deserved to be honored for his work in Carolina.

That’s up to Steve. I think he should, though,” Rivera said of a ceremonial retirement in Charlotte. “Think of all the years he’s played here. But it’s up to him. He’ll decide what he wants to do and he’s earned the right. What he wants to do is up to him.”

The stats say he should, but the stats don’t tell nearly enough of the story for it to sway Smith.

He had a close relationship with owner Jerry Richardson but left the Panthers on poor terms, another veteran who was nudged to the door by General Manager Dave Gettleman in the interest of building for the future (like Jordan Gross and DeAngelo Williams). And even though Smith’s offseason home remains in the city where he was drafted in 2001, he can carry a big grudge for such a little fella. So while Rivera might like it if Smith eventually comes back to for the honor he deserves, he’s absolutely right in that the decision will be made by Smith alone. And betting on Smith’s mood on a day-to-day basis has been a losing proposition for most.

Rivera wasn’t alone hailing Smith Wednesday, either.

“A fierce competitor,” Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said. “There’s not a lot of guys that you look down a dark alley and you say, ‘I want to bring this person, I want to bring that person.’ Steve Smith is one of those guys that you better make sure that he’s on your team and not against the team because I’ve seen both of them. I would prefer him being on my team.”

Had Gettleman shared that view after the 2013 season, this conversation might be moot. But part of the reason the outspoken Smith was released was so Newton could emerge as the clear leader in the locker room — even though that left Newton without a target he could have certainly used as he developed as a quarterback (and in the Super Bowl last year when his receivers couldn’t get open or catch it when they did).

25 responses to “Ron Rivera thinks Steve Smith should retire a Panther

  1. That’s unlikely — the Panthers CUT Smitty, and the Ravens did the opposite.

    Smitty will go into the HOF as a Raven. Mark it down.

  2. Gettleman is the Chief lunatic who let him go. He does not like Gettleman at all. However, football is a business.

  3. Hindsight is 20/20 and while DG may have thought he was getting rid of a guy before his decline the move seemed questionable given it cost them more to cut him than keep him if I recall correctly

  4. I never bought into “retire as” and those one-day retirement contracts are a joke. Who cares? The fans in Carolina will remember him as a Panther and the Ravens fans will remember him as a Raven.

  5. “pastabelly says:
    Dec 28, 2016 3:51 PM
    I never bought into “retire as” and those one-day retirement contracts are a joke. Who cares? The fans in Carolina will remember him as a Panther and the Ravens fans will remember him as a Raven.”


    I’m a Ravens fan, but I’d remember as a Panther that came to Baltimore. Like, Deion Sanders was a Raven (played kinda decent for some of it), but no Ravens fan will remember him as just that.

  6. The Pro Football HOF isn’t like the Baseball HOF. You don’t go in as a Panther or Raven. He’ll go in as Steve Smith, Sr., who played for the Panthers and Ravens. There’s no hat on the plaque.

  7. I would love to see him retire as a Raven, and it could happen. I was at the game the first time he was introduced – the place exploded! He really was welcomed here with open arms. The Ravens alternate introducing the offense/defense at home games – when it’s the offense’s turn, Smith Jr is introduced last, which is an honor, to thunderous cheering. He appreciates his time in Baltimore…

  8. Does it really matter? What are you trying to get at Ron Rivera? Do the Panthers need the media attention or something? Personally I think a player should retire for the team they are currently playing for. The Panthers showed him the door as in they did not want him anymore. Why in the hell should he go back there? David Gettleman made a decision to let him go and If I’m Smith I would let him know he made a mistake by retiring as a Raven.

  9. ihavepriors says:
    Dec 28, 2016 3:37 PM
    Well Ron, that’s really not your call is it? Thanks for seeking the media attention though. Camera has worn off on you, yes?


    Maybe read the article and not just the headline before commenting?

    “Think of all the years he’s played here. But it’s up to him. He’ll decide what he wants to do and he’s earned the right. What he wants to do is up to him.”

  10. If it were Andy Reid saying that the tampering investigation would be humming right about now and if it were Payton or Belichick the gallows would already be finished.

  11. Smitty has more sense than haters give him credit for.
    If he retires a Panther it is because of Richardson and the fans.
    We love you Steve.. Clown X is still the best Panthers play ever.

  12. Yes, just imagine if they had Smith and Benjamin in the SB last year. But they didn’t have either, and that definitely hurt their chances. Bad move on the GM to not resign Smith.

  13. As a Ravens fan, we loved you, Steve Smith. You are the epitome of what we like to say is “Play Like a Raven”. Unfortunately, here recently, guys like that are fewer and far between for us so he will be drastically missed.

    I am not holding out yet that he will retire. He already said his wife will support him, his boys want him to continue to play and I know the Ravens and the Ravens fans would love him for another year but he said he has a daughter who wants her dad home so we will have to see who wins over the off season, his boys or his girl.

    The Panthers should have thought about how they handled Smith before he left had they truly wanted him to retire a Panther. I think that is where he belongs, I think that is the place for him to retire, but I also feel the organization shafted him and I can’t blame him for holding a grudge.

    We were reminded again this week about players and grudges as Terri Bradshaw and his falling out with the Steelers years ago has never healed and he doesnt hold back one bit in criticizing his old team. Players don’t like to be slighted and Smith was more than slighted by the Panthers.

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