According to Smith, he plans to play another “three or four more years” before walking away from the game.
“I will be prepared and be ready to take the back seat when the time comes,” Smith said, via the Associated Press. “The hardest thing for an older guy is to be prepared and be ready to pass the torch. Naturally it happens. And to be able to do that, I think a lot of older players struggle with it. I’ve seen it.”
While Smith seems to be understanding of how things will likely play out for the remainder of his career in the NFL, the Panthers need someone to step up and be a worthy counterpart to Smith. You can’t just “pass the torch” to anyone. Brandon LaFell has been lining up as the team’s No. 2 receiver, so there’s a chance that he could have a breakout season for Carolina.