Outrageous omission means Steve Smith must wait for Hall of Fame

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Smith /

An outrageous omission means the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. must wait another year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It seems as if Carolina Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. might be waiting a little longer to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Something he richly deserves after a glittering NFL career.

Selectors shockingly omitted the standout wide receiver turned leading NFL Network analyst from the 2023 finalists despite having a better résumé than most. This was met with derision from Panthers fans, who were keen to see one of their own get the recognition in keeping with an exceptional stint in Carolina and the Baltimore Ravens.

Only one player has more all-time receiving yards and isn’t in the Hall of Fame. That’s Larry Fitzgerald, who isn’t even eligible right now.

Those on the committee opted to put Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne, and Andre Johnson among the wideout candidates looking to be immortalized in Canton. While both bring strong credentials to the table, one could make a strong case that Smith‘s career was more prolific.

Steve Smith Sr.’s career deserves a Pro Football Hall of Fame slot

What makes this more disappointing is the story surrounding Smith, which seems to be getting overlooked. Nobody gave the Utah prospect any chance of having a productive career thanks to his diminutive size compared to other wide receivers across the league, but his fearless attitude and outstanding consistency made him a true star at the position in double-quick time.

Not only this, but Smith’s rapid rise to prominence paved the way for other wideouts of similar stature to make a name for themselves. A legacy that will stand the test of time and is coupled with an unrivaled bravado that very few have matched ever since.

This news will be very disappointing for Smith – a player that never backed down an inch and produced some of the most memorable moments in Panthers history for good measure. However, it would be a huge shock if his name wasn’t immortalized at some stage despite a fresh new batch of legends looking for their own place every year.

Smith might not have Super Bowl to his name, but neither does Johnson.

Legitimate Hall of Fame inductees with direct ties to the Panthers are few and far between. The great Sam Mills was the first in 2022, but there could be a plethora of recently retired figures boosting this number in the coming years.

The likes of Smith, Julius Peppers, Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen, and Thomas Davis Sr. might come under consideration. There is also the promise of Cam Newton’s hotly-debated inclusion once the signal-caller eventually calls it a day.

Smith’s time will come. Even if it is later than many expected.

Getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the least Smith deserves after all his glowing stats and accomplishments. When that day comes, Carolina will embrace their beloved former player with open arms during what promises to be one of the more memorable weekends in franchise history.

His status in NFL and Panthers’ folklore is unquestioned. It’s just a shame that the process of securing his spot in Canton is going through some road bumps.

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