Report: Steve Smith wants out

Updated: April 26, 2011, 2:30 PM ET
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

Sometime before the NFL lockout started in March, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith cleaned out his locker at Bank of America Stadium, according to a report by Pro Football Weekly.

The report also says Smith, on the same day, took down all of the decorations in the luxury suite his family used on game days.

There has been speculation for months that the veteran wide receiver might want out as the Panthers continue with a youth movement and coach Ron Rivera takes over a team that was 2-14 last season.

Smith has been mum on the topic, but this could be a sign that he wants to be traded as soon as the league's labor situation is resolved enough to allow transactions.

The report also said Smith asked to be traded before the lockout began. Smith's Charlotte home has been on the market for more than a year, but he said last season that was because he was considering moving to another home in the area that would better accommodate his family.

The team has been deliberate when discussing Smith's future publicly. At the NFL owners meeting, Rivera said he had talked to Smith before the lockout and that the team would wait to see how things sorted out.

Privately, a team official said Smith was told in January that he should sit down and think about his future. The team official said Smith was told, if he wanted out, that the team would work with him. But the official also said it was made clear to Smith that the Panthers will not simply release him or "give him away."

Smith joined the Panthers in 2001 and has spent his entire career in Carolina. The team official said if Smith wanted out, the team would seek draft picks or players as compensation in trade scenarios.

Pat Yasinskas covers the NFC South for ESPN.com.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter