Steve Smith is coming off his third best year statistically and 11th year overall in the NFL. Smith was asked on Panthers.com if older players were supposed to slow down with age. “That’s what they say, yeah, yeah. I hope not.”
A lot of Smith’s success last season came as a result of the rapid maturation of Cam Newton who recently said that he “was a bad teammate last year.” Smith appreciates Newton’s maturity and team-first mentality.
“I mean, you know, it was good to hear him say that. But at the same time the thing that I think is encouraging is to self examine himself and then to also to be vulnerable and say something.So I thought that was pretty mature and showed that it’s important to him, not just winning games, but how he comes off to his teammates as well.”
Smith appreciates the type of work ethic Newton has for the game, and thinks that his modes of self-improvement are quite good too.
“Yeah, I believe that we all need to look at specific ways we can improve. And that’s where the longevity comes, and that’s what separates you. You know when you win a lot of times, you don’t always analyze that. You only kind of do it when you lose. You want to make sure that you are doing it despite the outcome”
A fellow wide receiver, Plaxico Burress, has not been shy about his desire to play for the Panthers; he has relatives in the area, and would love to play with Cam Newton too.
“You just look at a situation like Carolina. I mean it’s like you can’t come across a better situation than that.” Burress said the Charlottr’s 610 the Fan. “Playing with Cam. Who I think is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in all of football, and obviously I’ve been saying this for as long as I can remember Steve Smith has been one of my favorite receivers since I can remember. I just think it’s a great situation. It’s a place that I would love to come play. We’ll see what happens”
The Carolina Panthers have released through anonymous sources that they are not interested in pursuing Burress at this time, and Smith agrees with the thinking.
“Um, you know, really, we have a pretty filled field. Our chairs in the receivers room with already a lot of guys. Young and older guys. I think to bring in Plax, to let one of those guys go. I think it wouldn’t be the coach Rivera way. The guys that are in there have earned their chairs for right now and allow them to go through training camp. If some injuries were to happen, I think that would be one of the persons we look for. We don’t really need a guy to say, because we also have some guys. We have some guys that are trying to make their way into the starting line-up and have a bigger role. I think adding a guy like that would take away from some of their development. I don’t really agree with it. My sources tell me, I think Carolina has already come out and said they aren’t interested right now. He’s an exceptional wide receiver and he can help out a team. It’s just not the right fit, right now.”
Newton and Burress would be a truly frightening and difficult to defend red zone offense, but the Panthers like what they have at wide receiver. It was quite an effective offense last year, and why mess with things while they are working. Smith makes a great point about injuries, though, and if one the Panther wide receivers go down, then they should have Plaxico on speed dial.