Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers)

Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers)

Steve Smith
Smith with the Panthers in 2006.
No. 89     Carolina Panthers
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-05-12) May 12, 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth: Carlsbad, California
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school: University High School (Los Angeles, California)
College: Utah
NFL Draft: 2001 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
Debuted in 2001 for the Carolina Panthers
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 8, 2013

Stevonne Latrall Smith[1] (born May 12, 1979) is an American football wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). After playing college football for the Utah Utes, he was chosen by the Panthers as a third round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro selection, has emerged as one of the NFL's most productive wide receivers, leading the league in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns in 2005. He has spent his entire career with the Panthers, and is that franchise's all-time leader in total touchdowns (69) receptions (800), and receiving yards (11,785). In 2011, he became the 35th player in NFL history to amass 10,000 receiving yards.

High school career

Smith attended University High School in Los Angeles, California, and was a letterman in football and track & field. In football, he played running back and defensive back, and was an All-Metro League selection as well as an All-California Interscholastic Federation selection. In track & field, he set a handful of school records, was named as an All-City selection as a high-hurdler, and also excelled in the triple jump and 300m hurdles. Steve Smith graduated from University High School in 1997.

College career

After graduating from high school, Smith attended Santa Monica College. While playing for the college’s football team, Smith quickly defined himself as a talented football player, and earned a starting position. During this time, Smith was teammates with future NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, bemusing fans of the small college's team with their unexpected talents.

While impressing spectators with his performance on the football field, Santa Monica’s head coach, Robert Taylor, encouraged Smith to not play for riches or fame, but to play so that he might earn a scholarship to a Division-I school, where he could receive a better education. He also advised Smith and OchoCinco to not do touchdown celebrations and as Smith said, "they put the cuffs on us." Smith took Taylor’s advice to heart, and excelled in his academics, not missing a single day of classes while attending Santa Monica.

After completing two years at Santa Monica College, Smith transferred to the University of Utah, where he established himself as a standout wideout in the Mountain West Conference where he was a teammate of running back Mike Anderson. While at the University of Utah, Smith set the record for yards per catch with a 20.6 average, and was chosen to play for the conference’s all-star team twice. However he missed their bowl game in his final season due to injury. After the Blue-Gray All-Star game on December 25, 2000, Smith began to receive attention from various NFL scouts. He and his wife have endowed an athletics scholarship at the University of Utah .[2]

Professional career

2001 NFL Draft

The Carolina Panthers chose Smith in the third round (74th Overall) during the 2001 NFL Draft.

Pre-draft measureables (* represents NFL Combine)
Wt 40y 20ss 3-cone Vert BP Wonderlic
184 lb* 4.39s* 4.05s* 7.44s* 38.5 in* 22 23*

Carolina Panthers (2001–present)

2001 season

Smith spent a majority of his rookie season as a kick and punt returner, leading all rookies in net yardage with 1,994 yards, and landing in fourth place among all NFL players behind Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, and Derrick Mason. In his first play as a professional, Smith returned the opening kickoff of the first game of the season for a touchdown. Smith also had 10 catches for 154 yards, and rushed 4 times for 43 yards. Smith’s performance was rewarded with an invite to the 2002 Pro Bowl, allowing him to join Wesley Walls and Todd Sauerbrun as the only players to represent the Panthers in the 2002 Pro Bowl.

2002 season

During the 2002 NFL season, Smith earned a starting position as a wide receiver and continued as the team's kick returner and punt returner. On November 10, 2002, Smith was involved with an altercation with his teammate Anthony Bright during a film-room meeting.[3] The altercation left Bright with a broken nose and he was hospitalized for two nights. Steve Smith has been in a few on-the-field squabbles over his career and was involved in one other, high profile, altercation in the team's film-room in 2002.

Smith was suspended after that incident, which left former Panther, Anthony Bright, with a fractured orbital lobe. Smith was arrested and briefly jailed on charges of misdemeanor assault, and the Panthers suspended him for one game. Smith finished the year with 54 receptions for 872 yards and 3 touchdowns.

2003 season and Super Bowl XXXVIII

During the 2003 season, Smith played a critical role for the Panther offense and helped lead them to the only NFC title in franchise history. He finished the regular season with 88 receptions for 1,110 yards and 7 touchdowns. During the NFC divisional playoffs, Smith caught a 69-yard pass and ran it for a touchdown in the 2nd overtime period to defeat the St. Louis Rams 29–23. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, he caught 4 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, and returned a kickoff for 30 yards in the Panthers 32–29 loss to the New England Patriots.

2004 season and injury

Smith suffered a severe break in his leg during the 2004 NFL season opener against the Green Bay Packers, and was out for the remainder of the year. Before the injury, he managed to record 6 catches for 60 yards, and even attempted a pass which fell incomplete.

2005 season and comeback

In 2005 NFL season, Smith recovered from his injury to have what is still the best season of his career. He managed to earn the "Triple Crown" of receiving, leading the NFL with 1,563 receiving yards, 103 receptions, and 12 touchdowns. Smith also returned 27 punts for 286 yards. His 10.6 yards/return was the second highest of his career.

Smith dominated the first two rounds of the 2005 post season. In a wild card victory over the New York Giants, Smith caught 10 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 12 yards and another score. The Panthers then defeated the Chicago Bears in the divisional round, aided by Smith's franchise record 12 receptions for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns. Smith and the Panthers then faced the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship. Although he scored on a 59-yard punt return, Smith was held to 33 receiving yards on 5 catches, and the Panthers lost by a score of 34–14.

Smith, along with teammates Jake Delhomme, Julius Peppers, and Mike Wahle were invited to the 2006 Pro Bowl after the season. Smith also shared the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award with New England Patriots’s linebacker Tedy Bruschi.

2006 Season

After suffering a hamstring injury and developing an ingrown toenail in training camp before the 2006 season, Smith returned to the field after missing two weeks of action. Steve was double covered frequently but still managed to battle through that and injuries to finish the year with 83 catches for 1,186 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was also invited to the 2007 Pro Bowl, his second Pro Bowl in a row and third overall.

2007 Season

Smith started 15 games for the Panthers during the 2007 Carolina Panthers season, and led Carolina with 87 catches, 1,002 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns despite playing with four different starting quarterbacks due to injury to starting quarterback Jake Delhomme.

2008 Season

Smith made headlines during the 2008 training camp when he was involved in an altercation with teammate Ken Lucas on August 1, 2008. Smith broke Lucas' nose during the fight and was later sent home for the remainder of the day after reportedly apologizing. Smith was given a two game suspension by the team.[4][5] Smith then suffered a severe concussion during the 2008 preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts, where Smith was hit in the head when catching a pass.[6] He continued to play that game, but did not travel with the team to their next game against the Philadelphia Eagles. After returning from suspension and scoring his first touchdown of the 2008 season, Smith presented the ball to Lucas on the sideline.[7] Despite his 2-game suspension, Smith was voted to play in the 2009 Pro Bowl after he managed to catch 78 passes for 1,421 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, leading the NFL in receiving yards per game.

2009 Season

During Week 16 of the 2009 NFL Season, Smith broke his left forearm on a touchdown catch in a game against the New York Giants causing him to sit out the final game of the year. Smith finished the year with 982 yards on 65 receptions and 7 touchdowns, just 18 yards shy of a 5th straight 1,000 yard receiving season. On January 1, 2010, Smith was placed on injured reserve following the injury, and on June 19, 2010 Smith broke his arm again while playing flag football.

2010 Season

2010 was Smith's worst season as a starter since 2002. Although he led the team in both receptions and receiving yards, he only managed 46 catches for 554 yards. In addition, he only caught two touchdown passes, 1 fewer than rookie David Gettis. Smith's low numbers were due to the total lack of team offense behind rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The Panthers finished last in most offensive categories and with a 2–14 record, which was the worst in the 2010 season, securing the 1st overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Smith's dissatisfaction led to widespread rumors amongst the Panther's fan base that the star receiver wanted to be traded from the team for the 2011 season.

2011 Season

Smith opened up the 2011 season strong, gaining 178 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 catches, including a 77-yard reception for a touchdown. Smith followed his week 1 performance with another 150-yard receiving game, but had a fumble during the game as well. On November 27, 2011 Smith surpassed the 1000-yard receiving mark .[8] During Week 14 he became the 35th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard receiving mark after a 125 yard performance against Atlanta. Smith reached a total of 1394 yards on 79 catches, and was one catch away from reaching the 700 rec mark.


In 2012 Smith partnered with BioSteel Sports Supplements.

Professional statistics

Accurate as of Week 16, 2012

Regular season   Receiving   Rushing   Kickoff Returns   Punt Returns
Season Team GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Ret RetY Avg Lng TD
2001 Carolina Panthers 15 1 10 154 15.4 33 0 4 43 10.8 39 0 56 1,431 25.6 99T 2 34 364 10.7 70T 1
2002 Carolina Panthers 15 13 54 872 16.1 69 3 1 −4 −4.0 −4 0 26 571 22.0 51 0 55 470 8.5 87T 2
2003 Carolina Panthers 16 11 88 1,110 12.6 67T 7 11 42 3.8 14 0 11 309 28.1 42 0 44 439 10.0 53T 1
2004 Carolina Panthers 1 1 6 60 10.0 15 0
2005 Carolina Panthers 16 16 103 1,563 15.2 80T 12 4 25 6.3 20T 1 3 61 20.3 33 0 27 286 10.6 44 0
2006 Carolina Panthers 14 14 83 1,166 14.0 72T 8 8 61 7.6 24T 1 2 −1 −0.5 3 0 9 30 3.3 16 0
2007 Carolina Panthers 15 15 87 1,002 11.5 74T 7 9 66 7.3 22 0 2 7 3.5 6 0
2008 Carolina Panthers 14 14 78 1,421 18.2 65T 6 5 40 8.0 23 0 1 10 10.0 10 0
2009 Carolina Panthers 15 15 65 982 15.1 66 7 5 22 4.4 17 0
2010 Carolina Panthers 14 14 46 554 12.0 39 2 1 9 9.0 9 0 6 46 7.7 32 0
2011 Carolina Panthers 16 16 79 1,394 17.6 77T 7 6 56 9.3 23 0
2012 Carolina Panthers 16 16 73 1,174 16.1 66 4 3 27 9.0 15 0
Regular season totals 167 146 772 11,452 14.8 80 63 57 387 6.8 39 2 98 2,371 24.2 99 2 178 1,652 9.3 87 4

Playoffs   Receiving   Rushing   Kickoff Returns   Punt Returns
Season Team GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Ret RetY Avg Lng TD
2003–04 Carolina Panthers 4 4 18 404 22.4 70 3 1 7 7.0 7 0 2 41 20.5 30 0 4 15 3.8 0
2005–06 Carolina Panthers 3 3 27 335 12.4 58 3 4 38 9.5 22 1 3 58 19.3 59T 1
2008–09 Carolina Panthers 1 1 2 43 21.5 35 1
Playoff totals 8 8 47 782 18.8 70 7 5 45 9.0 22 1 2 41 20.5 30 0 7 73 10.4 59 1
  • In 2011 Steve Smith was named by Jerry Rice the best receiver in the game.

Career accomplishments

  • In 2001, Smith was the first rookie to make the Pro Bowl as a special teams player since Tyrone Hughes in 1993.
  • In 2003, Smith’s 404 postseason yards were the most since Jerry Rice gained 409 yards in 1988.
  • In 2005, Smith became the first player since Washington Redskins' receiver Art Monk in 1984 to lead the NFL in receptions for a team that ran more often than it passed.
  • In 2005, Smith earned the NFL's receiving "triple crown", leading the league in receptions (103), yards (1,563) and touchdowns (12).
  • Smith is one of only three players in history to run back two punts for touchdowns and catch a touchdown pass in the same game.
  • Smith holds an NFL record for highest punt return average in a single game (51.0 yards).
  • Smith led the NFL in receiving yards per game in the 2008 NFL season.
  • All time Panthers leader in yards received (11,655), passing Muhsin Muhammad (9,255) in 2011.

NFL records

Panthers franchise records

  • Most career receiving yards (11,655)[10]
  • Most career receiving touchdowns (64)[10]
  • Most career receptions (800) [10]
  • Most career All-Purpose yards (12,147)[10]
  • Most punt return touchdowns in a single season: 2 (2002)[10]
  • Most kickoff return touchdowns in a single season: 2 (2001) (tied with Michael Bates)[10]
  • Most All-purpose yards in a single season: 1,992 (2001)[10]
  • Most seasons with 1,000 receiving yards: 7 [10]


Smith and his wife, Angie, have three children. Smith is a partner in Athletes United for Youth, a charity organization that provides educational, programmatic, and structured support to youth housed within under-served communities. In May 2008, Smith announced that he purchased a near-50% interest in the existing Velocity Sports Performance franchise in Charlotte and an equal ownership percentage in any future Charlotte area Velocity centers.[11]


External links

  • Steve Smith – Carolina Panther Bio
  • Athletes United for Youth Official Web Site