3 reasons why Steve Smith is a first-ballot Hall of Famer

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Steve Smith
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Steve Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Steve Smith /

Rags to riches story

Few gave Steve Smith any chance of making a real name for himself in the NFL. He was an undersized wide receiver with plenty of question marks coming out of Utah. But the Carolina Panthers decided to take a chance on him at No. 74 overall and the rest is history.

Being written off is all the fuel Smith needed. His stern exterior and competitive demeanor weren’t always the easiest to get along with. So in some respects, the Panthers were the perfect landing spot for him at the time.

Whether he’d have gone on to have the sort of career elsewhere is up for debate.

But one thing is for sure, Carolina was fortunate to have him.

This was a rag to riches story and one that Smith worked exceptionally hard to achieve. He left everything on the field and although there are plenty of players who look back on their careers with a semblance of what might have been, he isn’t one of them.

There are so many worthy candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Going in as a first-ballot is the most prestigious distinction of all and it would be the crowning jewel on a storied association with the NFL that made Smith one of the more rememberable characters who always produced the goods and let everybody know about it.

From a third-round afterthought to one of the greatest-ever Carolina Panthers – and maybe even the very best of all.

Not bad. Not bad at all.