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Pride of panthers

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith expects to finish his career where it began – just like he predicted 11 years ago. Smith (pictured right), who turns 33 in May, signed a contract extension Tuesday that will likely keep him in Carolina at least through 2015 and likely for the remainder of his career. A person familiar with the deal said that Smith will earn approximately $18 million in guaranteed money over the next three seasons. There is also a club option for the 2016 season. During a news conference Tuesday, Smith said the opportunity to retire as a Panther would be “extremely special.” He also said it cements the promise he made to general manager Marty Hurney in 2001 prior to signing his first contract. “I told Marty I would be the best Panther player ever to put on a uniform,” Smith said. – Associated Press