Steve Smith Comments on Relationship with Cam Newton During Panthers Tenure

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2016

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers meet at mid field after the Ravens defeated the Panthers 38-10 at M&T Bank Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith will always be best known for his successful tenure with the Carolina Panthers, but the potential future Hall of Famer admitted recently that issues with quarterback Cam Newton were present at the tail end of his stint. 

According to ESPN.com's David Newton, Smith had the following to say about his relationship with the 2015 MVP in NFL Network's Steve Smith: A Football Life, which will air Friday: "We bumped heads for the obvious reason. He's the first overall pick and he was a star where he was. I was 31 years old. I had three kids. So we were two people in two different phases of their life."

Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl also commented on the situation and suggested the team wasn't big enough for both Newton and Smith:

Emotionally, it was hard for everybody because of what he's done for this organization, the impact he's had in the community. He's the best Panther to step foot in Bank of America Stadium, but I think everybody understood that he probably needed a change. It was probably good for everybody.

Carolina cut ties with Smith following the 2013 season, and he was critical of general manager Dave Gettleman in the aftermath, as he learned of his release from Charlotte radio station WFNZ, per David Newton.

The five-time Pro Bowler spent 13 years with the Panthers, registering 836 receptions for 12,197 yards and 67 receiving touchdowns, as well as two rushing scores and six return touchdowns.

Smith and Newton were teammates from 2011 through 2013, and while they initially appeared to have on-field chemistry, Smith saw a precipitous drop in production.

The 2001 third-round pick racked up 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns in Newton's rookie season, but he ended up with just 745 yards and four scores two years later.

Smith has spent the past three campaigns with the Ravens, and he is among their top offensive weapons with 36 grabs for 417 yards and two touchdowns at 37 years old.

Newton has gone on to enjoy great success since Smith's departure, as he led Carolina to Super Bowl 50.

Newton is the unquestioned face of the Panthers, and after so many years of serving in that role, Smith's comments suggest he had a difficult time transitioning away from it.


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