Steve Smith played different. He was passionate, aggressive, all-in-all-the-time and was hands-down the best smack-talker in the league.
Thankfully for us, that same energy and passion we loved watching on Sundays is still on display when Smith sits down in studio as an NFL Network Analyst.
But even when the cameras are off, Smith's passion for the game doesn't.
When our producers were working on Steve Smith's The Hall episode, they learned Smith would be in LA working with the next generation of NFL players. So, they traveled to LA and met Smith while he participated in the NFLPA's Rookie Premier. The Rookie Premier is an event held every summer where a group of selected draft picks get a crash course in what they may experience during their time as NFL players.
View behind the scenes photos of Steve Smith, Sr. while working with the NFL Network at the Rookie Symposium in his hometown of Los Angeles, CA.
The days are long and filled with things like photo shoots, fan meet-and-greets, interviews, and maybe most importantly, the opportunity to sit down with former players to talk about the reality of life in the NFL.
With Smith being a former player and now an analyst, he played a special roll in those three days as interviewer and mentor. The five-time Pro Bowler passed on his experience to the next generation of NFL players, including Carolina's third-round draft pick Will Grier, who attended the Rookie Premier this year.
I don't know about you, but I can't imagine how amazing it would be to get unfiltered, passionate advice from a man like Steve Smith. If only we could find a way to sneak into those meetings!
The Hall series this summer has given us all a look into the lives of four Panthers greats. From Jordan Gross growing produce to Jake Delhomme running horses, it's been fun to check back in with each Hall of Honor inductee and share in their excitement. We can't wait to honor these players this season and expand the Hall of Honor!