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Carolina Panthers

Smith, Williams address trade talk


CHARLOTTE – The trade rumors involving wide receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams are just that – rumors.

And Panthers head coach Ron Rivera once again insisted on Wednesday that there are no plans to trade either player before Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline.

"They (rumors) are erroneous, because we haven't contacted anybody and we didn't field any phone calls," Rivera said. "That was one of the disappointing things – nobody asked us to confirm anything."

"You never know," he added, "but we are not looking to trade anybody. We're really not. We need everybody we've got. We'll see what happens when we get to Thursday."

Smith – the franchise's all-time leading receiver, who has spent his entire 12-year career with the Panthers since being drafted in the third round of the 2001 draft – reiterated his desire to finish where he started. 

"I have the opportunity to finish my career here, and that's what I plan on doing," Smith said. "It doesn't happen very often. A lot of people don't get to do it. I have the opportunity to do it and I look forward to doing it."

Smith understands fans' frustrations after the Panthers' 1-6 start, saying, "They have a lot of things to complain about from our play."

But the wideout and team captain, who signed a three-year contract extension before training camp, is determined to help turn things around in Carolina.

"Unless I'm cut, I'll be in this locker and I'll be in this uniform until I walk away," Smith said. "You're stuck with me."

Williams – the franchise's all-time leading rusher – has been replaced in the starting lineup by Jonathan Stewart, fueling outside trade speculation as a result.

He's had 19 carries over the last three games (Stewart had 31 carries during that stretch), but Williams isn't allowing the lineup change to alter his focus.

"I know there is one football, and we've got a lot of playmakers back there," Williams said. "I'm one of those guys and when my number is called I'm trying to make the best of my opportunities – whether it's a starter or backup role.

"All I can do is get out there and do my job to the best of my ability and keep moving forward."

As for the trade talk, Williams, who signed a five-year contract extension at the start of training camp last season, said he is content in Carolina.

"I never really thought about leaving," Williams said. "The thought of leaving never crossed my mind. I'm going to continue to be a Panther until told otherwise."

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