Steve Smith signs 3-year deal with Baltimore Ravens - FOX Carolina 21

Steve Smith signs 3-year deal with Baltimore Ravens

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BALTIMORE (WBTV) -

Former Carolina Panther wide receiver Steve Smith has signed a deal with a new team just 24 hours after being cut from the Panthers.

According to sources, Smith has inked a three year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Smith turns 35 in May and was cut from the Panthers on Thursday after 13 seasons with the team.

After Smith was released, he headed to Baltimore to talk to the Ravens, who were eager to add provide quarterback Joe Flacco another target.

Smith ranks 19th in the NFL in career receptions. He caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.

Baltimore has had a void at wide receiver since trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers after winning the Super Bowl in February 2013. The Ravens went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.

"Steve has been an important part of this team since I have been head coach and before my arrival," says head coach Ron Rivera. "I have coached against him and have had the benefit of having him on the Panthers. 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."

Not long after the decision was delivered, Panther fans voiced their frustrations.

The team store at Bank of America stadium offered the backdrop for those coping with the reality that Steve Smith will no longer be on the roster.

"We knew that it would happen. We wished that it would have happened a different way," she said.

Face of the franchise and heart and soul of the team is how this receiver has been described in recent days.

Smith's departure is stuff that sports talk radio is made of, and when former Panther Frank Garcia hit the waves, one of callers on the line was number 89.

"A contract is a piece of paper, and I will ALWAYS be a Carolina Panther," Smith said on Thursday afternoon.

"I love this community, and this community loves me," Smith said of Charlotte. "And that's why whether I play or don't play, I plan to grow old with my wife in the Charlotte community, and I plan on being buried in the Charlotte community."

Some good news for the Ravens - Smith says he hasn't missed a day of workouts since the reports started about his departure from the Panthers.

"I wanna make sure that whatever team I go to, wherever it happens to be, they're gonna get the best in shape 35-year-old guy that they could possibly get," Smith said. "And if that happens to run through Bank of America stadium, put your goggles on cuz there is gonna be blood and guts everywhere."

The Carolina Panthers play the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore in the 2014 season.

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