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Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith signs autographs for fans after an NFL football training camp practice as part of the team's Fan Fest in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina’s Steve Smith remains motivated to succeed
NFL » Pro Bowler, former Ute, has reel full of highlights as well as few lowlights.
First Published Aug 07 2013 09:48 am • Last Updated Aug 07 2013 11:18 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. • Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said the reason he’s been able to play 12 years in the NFL is because he never allowed himself to get complacent.

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The 34-year-old Smith said complacency leads to laziness— and lazy is one thing he’s not.

He said he’s tried to treat every day in the NFL as if it’s his first and he has something to prove.

Smith said earlier this week of his legacy, "A lot of people can say, ‘Well, he did this. He punched a guy. He did that. He’s this, he’s that. But one thing you’ll never say about me is I didn’t work. I’m going to work."

Smith was referring to a career that has had its share of highlights and a few moments he’d father forget.

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He’s led the Panthers in yards receiving in 10 of the past 12 seasons — he missed 15 games in 2004 because of a broken leg — and is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

He’s played in a Super Bowl, two NFC title games and five Pro Bowls.

But he’s also had moments where his tough, inner-city Los Angeles upbringing that fuels his fire has gotten the best of him, including two incidents where he punched a teammate — receiver Anthony Bright in the film room meeting in 2002 and cornerback Ken Lucas during a training camp practice in 2008.

Smith has apologized in the past for both incidents and tried to put them behind him, although he knows some will never let him forgive him for his wrongdoings.

Through it all Smith said he’s never viewed himself as a lock to make the Panthers roster, which in part explains the chip on his shoulder that has been there for years.

"We go to camp with 12 receivers, sometimes 13 receivers every year," Smith said. "In 10 years that’s 120 guys who have sat in that seat. Only a few of them have remained and I’m one of those few guys. I don’t say that to brag. I say that because I’m fortunate, that I’m lucky.

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