Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) reacts after catching a pass during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rumors: Carolina Panthers question Steve Smith's football skills

The Carolina Panthers said on Wednesday that the release of longtime wide receiver Steve Smith was simply a football decision, but that didn’t come without some bulletin board material.

Head coach Ron Rivera went along with general manager Dave Gettleman’s comments regarding Smith’s release as purely football related, Rivera taking it a step further suggesting that Smith didn’t have the necessary speed to be a top-flight wideout.

“He doesn’t have the top-end speed like he used to, but he still has good speed,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday at the annual league meetings.

Now, in fairness to Rivera, he’s essentially correct but we all know how Smith is going to react to such a comment.

Rivera also went on to say Smith should tone down his ‘approach’ to preserve himself for a full season.

Smith of course fired the first shot at Carolina after his release, suggesting their would be ‘blood and guts’ when the Baltimore Ravens played the Panthers.

Rivera’s (essentially truthful) comments seem relatively tame after that.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera Steve Smith

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