Now that Steve Smith’s career has come to an end, it’s only fair that we speculate his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame in the near future. Smith was without a doubt one of the greatest players in Carolina Panthers football history, but is he worthy of the golden jacket?
Why Smith is Worthy;
Steve Smith has played a relentless career, and just based on game film, he always backed up what he had to say. Not many players can get away with the trash talk Smith does.
Sixteen years in the NFL is crazy enough, but how about the fact that he has played in 14+ games in fourteen of his sixteen years.
When you look at the numbers, Smith currently ranks 11th for most receptions in NFL history. The veteran also ranks 7th when it comes to total receiving yards in NFL history, as he finished his career with 14,731 (203 behind Tim Brown). Along with Henry Ellard, Smith is the only wide receiver in the top 20 for most receiving yards who was listed under 6’0.
With a 40-yard dash time of 4.39, Smith proved to be one of the quickest and toughest receivers to endure on a football field.
Why Smith isn’t Worthy;
There is no doubt that Smith is one of the best receivers in recent years, but does he surpass Issac Bruce? Torry Holt? Hines Ward?
I’m not a personal believer in Smith being able to cut the line above all of those names, as I think there was a few inconsistencies with his game.
Smith only played a full season in five out of fifteen seasons in the NFL, and on top of that, only eclipsed 80+ receptions four times. Smith is one of the most reliable guys when healthy, but that’s a huge “when”.
I think there were an endless amount of better red zone targets than Smith during his time, and the most obvious stat to point that out is the fact that the only season Smith recorded double-didgit touchdowns was in 2005 with the Panthers (12).
Smith won’t get in before Owens (who should be inducted this year), Holt, or Ward. Smith will need to battle it out with receivers such as Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, but his time absolutely will come.
Smith is one of the most entertaining names the NFL has provided, and for that, we thank him.