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Panthers Release WR Steve Smith

J. Meric/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The Carolina Panthers released 13-year NFL veteran wide receiver Steve Smith on Thursday.

Smith played all 13 seasons in Carolina and had 836 receptions for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns.

"When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way,'' general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. "To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it's the right one.

The five-time Pro Bowler will seek another team as a free agent.

Smith pulled in 64 balls for 745 yards and four touchdowns this past season with quarterback Cam Newton throwing to him.

"I have coached against him and have had the benefit of having him on the Panthers," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said of Smith, who was set to count for $7 million against Carolina's salary cap. 

"He is a great competitor with Hall of Fame worthy statistics and has made a great contribution to our community. I wish him nothing but the best," Rivera continued.

Smith will receive $5 million this season in guaranteed salary and deferred bonus. 

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