- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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When asked why he wanted to play for the Panthers, Newton replied, “I wanted to have someone great to throw to." That obviously was directed straight for Smith because the Panthers have some promising young receivers, but Smith is the only guy they have who approaches the “great’’ category right now.
There have been all sorts of mixed messages about Smith’s future this offseason. There were reports he cleaned out his locker and had asked to be traded. Smith has denied that he’s asked to be traded.
He smiled when Newton made his comment, but wouldn’t discuss his future. Read into this what you want. But my take is it still remains a possibility that Smith will be traded. However, I’d say some recent events have me thinking the odds are leaning toward him staying. And Newton’s remark certainly doesn’t hurt those chances.
It’s human nature to feel wanted and needed and to feel you're part of something that can be good. The decision ultimately is up to Smith, and maybe some of the early reports had some truth to them because Smith logically was frustrated by last year’s 2-14 record.
But he’s sung the praises of new coach Ron Rivera recently and had some kind words about Newton. Maybe the frustration of last year is fading and maybe Smith is starting to feel that there is a future in Carolina.