Steve Smith added another reason this week why he won’t come back to the NFL for a day to retire as a Carolina Panther. Above, Smith blows a kiss to fans before a 2013 game at Bank of America Stadium. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Steve Smith added another reason this week why he won’t come back to the NFL for a day to retire as a Carolina Panther. Above, Smith blows a kiss to fans before a 2013 game at Bank of America Stadium. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

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Inside the Panthers

Steve Smith adds one more reason he won’t retire as a Carolina Panther anytime soon

June 28, 2017 8:39 PM

Steve Smith added another reason – perhaps unexpected for many – this week why he won’t come back to the NFL for a day to retire as a Carolina Panther.

The former Panthers and Baltimore Ravens receiver, appearing on “The Rich Eisen Show” Tuesday, said that coming back to the Carolina Panthers was “really not on my radar.”

The latest wrinkle: Smith believes he’d be suspended if he did.

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Smith played his last game for Baltimore on New Year’s Day and submitted his retirement notice the next day to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that included the notice that he will “no longer be antagonizing defensive backs.”

It appears that wasn’t enough for the NFL. The league wanted more paperwork and in the meantime, Smith said, more drug tests. The tests are part of the NFL’s ongoing program to detect the use of banned performance-enhancing substances.

... if I tried to reinstate and play, I would be suspended.

Former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith, on ‘The Rich Eisen Show’

Smith told Eisen that he submitted the paperwork, but saw no reason to take the drug tests that the NFL asked of him to “continue to play, to show teams that you’re interested.”

But Smith wasn’t interested.

Steve Smith said he retired with Baltimore because that’s where he was playing on his last active day in the NFL. He also wanted to show his family that he was serious about retiring.

“I was subject to still being under the NFL policy of anything happening, also have had three spontaneous PED testings,” Smith said. “And I just didn’t want to deal with it.”

So he didn’t.

Carolina Panthers fan Evan Mulligan, 7, shows his support of former Panthers receiver Steve Smith during a rally at the team store in March 2014.
David T. Foster, III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

“On record right now I have three drug tests I have failed to appear for. And so actually if I tried to reinstate and play, I would be suspended,” Smith said.

Earlier in the interview, Smith said he retired with Baltimore because that’s where he was playing on his last active day in the NFL. He also wanted to show his family that he was serious about retiring.

About a month later, Smith took a job with the NFL Network as an analyst.

There is at least one more reason Smith likely won’t retire as a Panther anytime soon – the bad feelings that reportedly exist between Smith and Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman.

The Observer’s Joseph Person summed up that uneasy situation in a column in December.

On Tuesday, Eisen asked Smith about retiring as a Panther because “folks in the Carolinas would love to see you and the Panthers somehow get that together.”

Smith reminded Eisen’s audience that he still lives in Charlotte with his family, has business interests in Charlotte, he’s active in the community and his foundation is based here. But he has no plans to retire as a Panther.

“I work for NFL Network, and it’s really not on my radar as of today,” Smith said. “If it comes about in ... due time, I’ll think about it. ... Right now, I’m, what did I say? YOLO (You Only Live Once). Chilling.”

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Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Steve Smith, center, said he retired with Baltimore because that’s where he was playing on his last active day in the NFL. He also wanted to show his family that he was serious about retiring.
Gary Landers AP

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