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Poll: Should Steve Smith Retire as a Panther?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has publicly announced his intentions to retire after his last game this Sunday. There are some hints he could come back for a year to retire as a Panther, but as of right now he plans on being retired starting 2017.

Steve Smith is a legend in the eyes of Panther staff and fans.  He was drafted by Carolina in 2001 and played until he was released in 2013 by Dave Gettleman. The Ravens picked him up where he has been for the last three seasons. Smith, 37, has become the 35th player to pass 10,000 receiving yards and 14th player to pass 1000 catches. He remains the Panthers' leader in total touchdowns (67), receptions (836), and receiving yards (12,197). 

Many Panthers fans and other players around the league would love to see him return to the Panthers for one year and retire his jersey. When Rivera was asked about Smith's retirement and the possibility of returning to the Panthers for one year he said, “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.” Smith has said that he is 89% done and still has 11% left in him.

Smith was close to Jerry Richardson, but did not end on good terms with Gettleman. Gettleman wanted to save money and rebuild with younger talent like Jordan Gross. Cam Newton had positive words to describe Steve Smith:

“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.”

He could easily be considered for the Hall of Fame.