|Breaking News: WR Steve Smith says he wants to return and retire a Panther|
|Written by Steve Reed|
|Thursday, 28 July 2011 10:12|
CHARLOTTE – It appears four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith is returning to the Carolina Panthers.|
Not that he ever left, of course.
Smith met Wednesday night with Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera and informed them that he wants to return to the team, sources said told CarolinaGrowl.com.
The Panthers have taken him off the trading block.
"For me I'm always going to be a Panther," Smith told ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter Thursday morning. "They took a shot on me when I was coming from nowhere and now I'm going into my 11th year in the league. This will be where I retire, whether that's five years from now or one year from now."
Smith said earlier this year he planned to come to a decision on his future after meeting with his wife Angie and their children.
Smith told ESPN.com he remained quiet this offseason because he had so much to do, including selling his home in Charlotte to move to a smaller place in the area. He closed on his new house this week.
Smith has two years left on his contract with the Panthers. He will make $7 million this season and $7.5 million next year.
It's unclear if the Panthers plan to give Smith a bump in pay or extend his contract.
"People have been speculating about my future for two years now," Smith told ESPN.com. "But I'm going to be here and I'm ready to show people a side of me that they haven't seen. I'm staying in Carolina."
Smith's new teammate Jeremy Shocker weighed in on Smith's return on Twitter, saying, "Sure glad Mr. Smith got everything worked out. What an amazing player and guy."
On Wednesday night, before meeting with Smith, Hurney was non-committal on Smith.
“It’s something I can’t tell you where it stands,” Hurney said. “Obviously we have had communication and we prefer the communication to stay between us and him and again, it’s something we’re trying to work through.”