Steve Smith to Retire after 2015 Season


Former Panther Steve Smith announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2015 season. Smith is currently with the Baltimore Ravens, but he has the overwhelming majority of his career with the Carolina Panthers. With his decision to call it quits, Smith will have the chance to be the Carolina Panthers player to have a shot at the Hall of Fame primarily for his time as a Panther.

If you have been keeping track of Smith, this is the second time that he made a decision to retire. Smith was originally going to call it quits after one more season with the Panthers in 2014. We never got there. Contract issues or perhaps competing vision issues resulted in the sacking of Smith and the rest of the receiving corps in the 2014 off season.

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Smith’s unceremonious exit from the Panthers fired him up to play a little more football. He had a good year last year with the Ravens, and could leave it all on the field this year. Smith promised vengeance and the Panthers had to visit Baltimore as part of their tour of the AFC North last year. Smith had a huge first half that was impossible for the Panthers to come back from.

Given the Panthers’ performance last year, it is intriguing to play a little game of what if. If Kelvin Benjamin had developed the same way and Greg Olsen had the same season, what would the Panthers looked like with Smith in the slot? It certainly would have been better than rotating Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, and finally Corey Brown looking for a complementary piece.

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Smith might have been most useful in the playoffs, where he could have stretched a Seattle secondary that really was not scared of the Panthers passing game. Or made some guarantee, because Smith was always good for his guarantees.

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