Steve Smith Sr. is returning to the Carolina Panthers fold later this summer. The former All-Pro wide receiver will be in the booth for Panthers preseason games in August, as the team announced on Twitter today
Smith has spent his post-playing career as an analyst for NFL Network and, unsurprisingly, is nearly as entertaining behind the desk as he was on the field during his heyday. This will be his first swing at a legitimate color commentary broadcasting role, though. Given Smith's personality and deep knowledge of the game, one figures he will be excellent as a game analyst, but it's a really different feeling to call a game as it happens rather than discussing it before or after the fact. Smith has a challenge ahead of him.
It could be a path towards a different career trajectory if he does it well and enjoys it. But for now, Smith is still listed as an on-air talent for NFL Network and has been in the studio for offseason discussions. That means this is more of an experiment right now than it is a true indication that Smith might want to change roles.
It'll be fun for Panthers fans at the very least and should give us media people something to talk about before the regular season begins. A win-win!