Smith Already Has Cleaned Out His Locker and Suite

It appears from reports today more than ever that Panthers WR Steve Smith will not be back with the team in 2011, adding more speculation that the team could go A.J. Green with the #1 overall pick on Thursday night in the NFL Draft.

Pro Football Weekly reported early today that Smith “cleared out his locker of all his personal belongings at Bank of America Stadium.”

The report says that Smith’s locker contained his All-Pro award from 2005, and that he cleaned out his luxury suite at the stadium. He didn’t do this today, but did it before NFL teams were able to lock out their players from their facilities.

The Panthers could either trade Smith when transactions are allowed again by the league, or they could just flat out release him and not pay him the $7 million in base salary he’s owed in 2011.

PFW reports that Smith and new coach Ron Rivera met shortly after Rivera was hired by the club, and that the two worked out some issues. Rivera told PFW at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine that he “appreciated (Smith’s) honesty with things” and vowed to “be straight” with the four-time Pro Bowl receiver about his future in Carolina when the league’s CBA issues are resolved.

Last season Smith caught just 46 passes for 554 yards and two touchdowns, the worst numbers of his career since his rookie season, when he was mostly a kick returner.

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