Steve Smith is a Carolina Panther for now, but if you listen to first-year head coach Ron Rivera, you don’t have to read too far between the lines to realize something could happen.
The Panthers are making a transition with the new coach and it remains to be seen if Smith will buy into the program or if he’d like a fresh start elsewhere.
“Steve’s a Carolina Panther,” Rivera said today when asked what the latest with the veteran wide receivers is. “That’s a situation where as we go further on we’ll address. We’ll talk and he knows how I feel about things. My biggest thing is let us put it all together and see how it works, see if it’s something that can work for all of us. That’s probably the most important thing. But we have to do what’s best for the Carolina Panthers.”
What’s best for the Panthers could include seeing what Smith, who turns 32 in May, could bring in trade. Of course, if there is a work stoppage it would be impossible to trade him, and if a work stoppage went past the April draft, Carolina couldn’t get 2011 draft pick(s) in exchange for Smith.
Smith and Rivera have met face-to-face. The situation sounds like it’s very fluid.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune