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Throwback Thursday: Steve Smith

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Who is Steve Smith?

A 5’9 Wide Receiver out of Los Angeles, California, Steve Smith had a rather interesting career in the NFL, leading to becoming the franchise leader in receiving yards for the Carolina Panthers. Steve Smith spent 13 years with the Carolina Panthers from 2001-2013, then finishing his career with the Baltimore Ravens from 2014-2016. Smith has had up and down moments throughout his career. He has fought with teammates, been in numerous scuffles on the field with opponents, as well as trash talking rival players/teams

Steve Smith in College

In 1999, Steve Smith started his college career at the University of Utah, playing there for only 2 seasons. In those 2 seasons, he would go on to play in 21 games, catching 78 passes for 1,603 yards. At a young age, Steve Smith was also a punt/kick returner. In college, Smith returned 72 punts, for 680 yards, averaging 11.9 yards per return with 4 touchdowns. Smith also returned 23 kick offs, for 505 yards, averaging 22 yards per return with no touchdowns.

For more information about Steve Smith’s college career click here.

Steve Smith In The NFL

In the 2001 NFL Draft the Carolina Panthers selected the 5’9 Wide Receiver and return man in the 3rd round with the 74th overall pick. While not being the tallest of players at the Wide Receiver position, Smith was primarily a punt and return man in his rookie year. In 2001, Steve Smith played in 15 of the 16 NFL regular season games. In Those 15 games, Smith returned 34 punts, for 364 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per return and 1 touchdown. For kick off returns, Smith returned 56 kicks for 1,431 yards, averaging 25.6 yards per kick return with 2 touchdowns. All his work lead him to be a rookie all pro and pro-bowler after the 2001 season.

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Tempers Flare for Steve Smith.

While Smiths rookie season was a success, his next season was not without some issues. Eventually he found himself under arrest and charged with assault inflicting serious injury. Smith and practice squad teammate Anthony Bright had a quick altercation after Bright continued to ask to have a play looked over several times, angering Steve Smith. The altercation did not last long, but did not need to. With Bright missing the rest of the season with a broken nose. Bright would need plastic surgery to correct his nose, he also suffered damage to an eye socket.

That would not be his only altercation with a teammate. At the Panthers training camp ahead of the 2008/2009 season another occurred. After the altercation, he was suspended for the first two games of the season. Smith had also started an altercation with then teammate Ken Lucas. Smith had punched Lucas in the face after exchanging words with one another on the sideline, ultimately leading to the scuffle. Once broken up, Lucas could be seen with a bloody face, which would later be revealed as a broken nose.

Steve Smith against Defensive Backs

Steve Smith catches football while covered by Aqib Talib
Image credit

Steve Smith throughout his career was always feisty, not backing down to anybody. Smith was always one who would trash talk you, but also show you up on the field. Young players loved to try and talk Smith to get him out of the game. A young Janoris Jenkins, trashed talked Steve Smith when the Panthers played the Rams. In that game, Smith juked Jenkins, ran into the end zone for a touchdown, where he turned and pointed at Jenkins getting off the ground. Richard Sherman is also a victim of the aggression by Smith. In a matchup where the Panthers played the Seahawks, Smith picked up and slammed a young Richard Sherman on a run play. When Sherman tried getting up, Smith held down Sherman by the helmet.

One game that will be remembered from Steve Smith’s career ended with the infamous quote “Ice up son, Ice up.” In a Monday night matchup against the New England Patriots, Aqib Talib and Steve Smith were going back and fourth with each other after each play. On one play, Talib held Smith’s foot as he tried to get up to celebrate a first down which led to both of them on the ground in a scuffle. After another play, they remained face to face, holding each others helmets and needed to be broken up by referees. At the end of the game the Panthers won. Aqib Talib was ejected from the game. This is when the infamous quote came during an interview with Smith walking off the field where he had a message for Talib saying “Ice up son, Ice up.”

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Panthers Career

In Steve Smith’s 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, he totaled up 836 receptions, for 12,197 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns. Steve Smith is undoubtedly the best Wide Receiver in franchise history for the Panthers. This was shown when Smith had the honor of being one of the first members in the Panthers “Hall Of Honor.”

Throughout the 13 years in Carolina, Smith has given the Panthers fans a lot of memories. Smith scored a game winning touchdown in double overtime against the then St. Louis Rams in the divisional round of the 2003 playoffs. Smith is a legend of the Panthers and in his Hall of Honor speech, took off his jacket to reveal his 2004 game worn Super Bowl jersey. Having the whole stadium erupt in excitement and claiming that nobody should be available to wear number 89 on the Panthers again.

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Ravens Career

2014 is the first season Steve Smith was not on the Panthers. Feeling betrayed by the organization, Smith signed with the Baltimore Ravens, knowing he will play the Panthers the following season. In an interview, Smith says when he sees the Panthers everybody should “bring their goggles, because there will be blood and guts everywhere.” When the season started, Smith made a 80-yard touchdown catch, and cameras caught him saying “If you think I can’t play, you’ll find out week 4.” Which was when the Ravens were scheduled play the Panthers.

Week 4 of the 2014 NFL season, Smith plays the Panthers for the first time in his career. In this game, the Ravens had an easy win again the Panthers winning 38-10. Steve Smith ends the game with 7 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cameras also capture Smith showing actions of nailing a coffin shut while saying “This is a nail, putting it in a coffin, you’re dead. Take your butt back to Carolina. Make sure you mow my lawn too, while you’re out there.”

For highlights of Steve Smith’s career click here.

As always any and all feedback is welcomed. You can find me on Twitter @SznPanthers give me a follow and tweet at me to discuss more Panthers topics.

To read last weeks Throwback Thursday click here.

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