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After seven years away from the organization, Steve Smith is rejoining the Carolina Panthers. No, he’s not pulling a Tim Tebow and returning to the field as a player after almost a decade-long hiatus. Instead, he’ll be a TV analyst for the team, alongside play-by-play announcer Taylor Zarzour.
The Panthers announced that news on Monday with a tweet that read, “Guess who’s in the booth this preseason?” The social media post also included a fun skit of Zarzour calling Smith, bringing him to the facility and extending him the offer.
“8-9 is back in the building,” Smith responded.
Guess who’s in the booth this preseason 👀 pic.twitter.com/b4AJrqy4Pb
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) June 14, 2021
Smith has plenty of experience on TV. He’s currently an analyst for the NFL Network, working pregame, postgame and halftime spots. But as the official website for the Panthers pointed out, the former star wide receiver has never called a game.
That’s about to change.
In his 13 seasons with the organization, the now 42-year-old hauled in 836 catches for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns. He then proceeded to play three years as a member of the Baltimore Ravens before hanging up his pads in 2016.
That means he’ll be up for the Hall of Fame in 2022, and he makes a strong case to be a first-ballot guy. But for now, we’ll worry about his transition to the booth with Zarzour, the same guy he spent time doing local sports talk radio with almost a decade ago.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.