NFL network’s “A Football Life” aired last night with the episode being about Baltimore Ravens receiver, Steve Smith. While the show touched on numerous things during Smith’s soon to be hall of fame career, one of the highlights from it was when he talked about the last few years of his time with the Panthers and how it coincided with the arrival of Cam Newton and how they just could never get along with each other.


There were always reports that the two of them bumping heads was what led to Smith being released in 2014. Both players have been relatively quiet on the topic but during the show, Smith spoke the truth.

“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.”

Former Panthers tackle, Jordan Gross, who was also Smith’s teammate in college said that besides Smith not having much patience with the young quarterback, they were much more eager to see Cam grow and felt getting rid of Smith was the thing to make that happen.

“Really, I think the organization felt like for Cam to flourish they needed Steve to step down,” Gross told the NFL Network. “It wasn’t an easy decision.”

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 not shy about his displeasure with the front office, claiming he found out he was cut on the radio, rather than getting a phone call from someone within the organization first. He even vowed that “blood would be spilled” when he returned the following year as a member of the Ravens.

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 had 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.

Just like everyone within this story said, it was better for everyone involved to have Smith move on and let Cam grow. Despite the Panthers rough season so far in 2016, with Cam winning the MVP last year and a trip to the Super Bowl, it’s hard to argue with their decision.