Smith is a Raven, but bond to Panthers remains

Smith is a Raven, but bond to Panthers remains
March 22, 2014, 10:00 am
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Steve Smith is now with the Ravens, but his ties remain strong to Charlotte, N. C., and the Panthers. Smith bought an ad scheduled to run in Saturday’s edition of the Charlotte Observer, first obtained by Bill Voth of SportsXchange.

Smith said he would always consider himself a Panther, and that Charlotte would be his permanent home when he retired. He also described about how emotional it was to leave the Panthers after 13 seasons.

“This has been a difficult time for me and my family, but you all have been a bright spot for us,” Smith’s ad said in part. “ We are so thankful to have spent the last thirteen years in such a wonderful city. It has been so great that a few years ago we decided that Charlotte would be our permanent home.

“As I said before, I will always consider myself a Carolina Panther, and I look forward to the day when I get to come home to celebrate my career and retire in the city I’ve grown to love and appreciate very much.”

Baltimore’s proximity to Charlotte was one reason why the Ravens were a more attractive option for Smith than the Patriots or the Chargers. As long as Smith makes a smooth transition to the Ravens, plays well, and helps the team win, none of his teammates and coaches will care how much he loves Charlotte. However, the Ravens host the Panthers next season, and the date for that game will be announced later this spring. Circle that date on your calendar. It will certainly be an emotional day for Smith.

See the full ad here:

[RELATED: Ravens coaching staff helped sway Smith]