Future for Steve Smith uncertain in Carolina

Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith remains under contract to the Carolina Panthers through 2012, but in an interesting piece by Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer, he reports that the star’s future is far from certain in Charlotte, N.C.

Smith has been a leader for the Panthers and one of the only constants in the team’s passing game. But the Panthers are most clearly in a rebuilding process, and Smith can be difficult to keep happy, especially when he isn’t getting the ball. It will be interesting to see what happens this afternoon when Brian St. Pierre, signed nine days ago, starts at quarterback for the Panthers against the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith punched Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib last Sunday after Talib’s shot on quarterback Jimmy Clausen. It was that hit that has Clausen out with a concussion. Now, Smith doesn’t have as much support for the next quarterback.

“I ain't in charge of that,” Smith said per Gantt, begging not to be asked about the decision to use St. Pierre. “You're asking me like he used to play right guard and they switched him to quarterback. He's a quarterback, right?”

As Gantt points out, we’ll find out of Smith is engaged and interested down the stretch, or if he’s tuning out and looking to a fresh start elsewhere.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune

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