Former Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith took out a three-quarter-page ad in Saturday’s Observer to thank fans for their support throughout his 13-year tenure in Charlotte.
Smith, who was released March 13 after the Panthers failed to find a trade partner for him, wrote in the ad “it’s hard to accurately express all the emotions I have felt over the last several weeks.”
“This has been a difficult time for me and my family,” Smith added. “But you all have been a bright spot for us.”
Smith signed a three-year, $11 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens one day after he was cut.
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Smith signed the three-paragraph ad, which is accompanied by a photo of him with his family after a game at the Georgia Dome.
Smith specifically thanked Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and his wife, Rosalind, as well as his Panthers teammates.
Smith, the franchise’s all-time receiver leader who holds more than 30 team records, indicated he would like to retire as a Panther.
“I will always consider myself a Carolina Panther,” Smith wrote. “And I look forward to the day when I get to come home to celebrate my career, and retire in the city I’ve grown to love and appreciate very much.”