Smith hints of release from Panthers
Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - More evidence that Steve Smith's 13-year run with the Carolina Panthers will soon be coming to end came from the veteran wide receiver himself, with Smith sending a goodbye message to Panthers fans via Twitter on Wednesday.
"God has a plan ... sometimes it just hurts find out what it is," tweeted Smith, Carolina's all-time leader in receptions (836), receiving yards (12,197) and touchdown catches (67). "I will always be a Carolina panther No contract can ever change that [Charlotte] is my home and will always be my home... I love you #panthernation."
The 34-year-old also made it known he has no plans to retire.
"But I still have a lil bit of football left in me.... #agent89 Out," Smith wrote.
Multiple reports have stated that the Panthers have been feverishly attempting to trade Smith, who is scheduled to earn $7 million this coming season, but have yet to receive a suitable offer. The five-time Pro Bowl selection is still owed $9 million in guaranteed money as part of the three-year contract extension he signed with Carolina in 2012.
After posting the sixth and seventh 1,000-yard seasons of his career in 2011 and 2012, Smith saw a significant decline in production this past year. He totaled 745 yards on 64 catches over 15 regular-season games, with his average of 11.6 yards per game his lowest since 2007.
Smith has spent his entire 13-year career with the Panthers, who drafted the former Utah wideout in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. His 182 games played with the franchise is second only to former kicker John Kasay's 219.
03/12 21:56:39 ET