Since being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2001 draft Steve Smith has played with a chip on his shoulder. At 5’-9" and 180 lbs he was told he was too small to be a starter in a league when 6-4" and 210 lb receivers were in vogue. What Smith lacked in height though he made up in fire and determination to be the best. But rather focusing on statistics lets talk about Steve Smith the role model. Early in his career Smith let his temper and desire to win get the best of him, hence his infamous punching of a teammate in the Panthers locker room. He seemed destined for the NFL police blotter list, a list that included several other former Panthers I won’t mention. That’s quite a contrast to the recent shots of him bringing cups of water to his teammates during the preseason game against the Steelers.
In fact, for those who live in the Charlotte area, seeing Steve Smith the mature leader has become common place. Charlotte native, long time Panther fan and CSR user Jaxonweb provides some examples of Steve Smith’s generosity and community leadership:
Jaxonweb - Why did Smith scale back his td celebrations? Because he wanted to set a mature example for his children.
When he didn't play during the Steelers game what was he doing?
He was delivering water jugs and filling the cups for his thirsty teammates.
How did Colbert dodge two players in his td against New England?
Steve Smith made a huge block that allowed Colbert to squeeze by. ESPN reporters commented that they never see receivers do this in the Preseason!
I have seen him have big games after puking the night before with food poisoning. I have seen him stay up late at fund raisers, wake up early the next morning for public school appearances, and still have to report to practice.
This is a 3rd round punt returner that nobody believed in, who worked his butt off to become the best receiver in the NFL.
That is who Steve Smith is.
Yes, Steve Smith is quite a contrast when you look at his history. I give him all the props in the world for recognizing that he is role model whether he likes it or not. I commend him more for being man enough to make changes in the life and his actions to be a role model; not just on the field but off the field as well. Too often the media focuses on the corrupting influence the NFL and rich contracts can have on our youth. Steve Smith is a shining example of the positive that can emerge as well.
Does anyone else have examples of Steve Smith’s community stewardship?