2013 NFL Offseason: Ronde Barber calls Panthers WR Steve Smith the toughest player he ever covered

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Recently retired CB Ronde Barber payed Panthers WR Steve Smith one of the highest compliments you can give an ex-opponent when he called him "the toughest guy I faced".

Much to the chagrin of the guys who played football back in the "good old days", players in the NFL today don't have an issue paying compliments to their opponents when they're not on the field competing.

An example of this came from former Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber, who in an interview with Peter King called Steve Smith "the toughest guy I faced". As Panthers fans we know how tough Smitty is, but to hear it from a division rival speaks volumes about how Smith is viewed throughout the league.

NFL.com's Chris Wesseling has the details on Barber's comments:

"Megatron [Calvin Johnson] was impossible to cover. Randy Moss in his prime: nothing you can do," Barber told SI.com's Peter King. "But to me, (the Carolina Panthers') Steve Smith was the toughest guy I faced. When I played him, he was just like me. He chose to outwork everyone else out there every day. That was me."

It's nice to see Smitty in the same sentence as Megatron and Moss. It's even better seeing Smitty being praised as the toughest of the three for a potential Hall of Fame cornerback to contain on the field.

Wesseling's article is worth the read because he praises Smith for being awesome, and even points out that if he had more consistent quarterback play throughout his career he would have a great shot at the Hall of Fame. It's not anything we don't already know, but it's nice to see the praise from a non-Panthers source.

What do you think Panthers fans? Do you think Steve Smith would be the hardest WR to cover in the league? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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