AROUND THE SHIELD — Former Utah star receiver Steve Smith Sr. left the Carolina Panthers after the 2013 season and never thought he’d be back.
The South California native spent the final years of his career with the Baltimore Ravens, and has kept in touch with his alma mater while spending time traveling across the country for media and charity organizations from coast to coast.
But on Sunday, he was back at the family confines of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, where he was inducted into Carolina’s hall of honor during halftime of the Panthers' 34-27 win over Jacksonville.
“I never thought I’d be back in this stadium. But I am, and I’m happy to be here I love the fans. I love the city that invested in me.
“I never thought I’d be able to wear a Carolina Panthers jersey again,” Smith said before taking off his Carolina blue jacket and revealing his old No. 89 underneath it. “The next step is to make sure nobody ever wears this number again.”
Smith joins former Utah offensive lineman Jordan Gross, as well asJake Delhomme and Wesley Walls in this year’s hall class.
The former 2001 third-round NFL draft pick from the University of Utah played 15 seasons in the league, and all but three in Carolina. A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team NFL All-Pro, Smith retired at the end of the 2016 season with 1,031 receptions for 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns.
Here are highlights from other former local college and high school football stars in the state, a list that currently sits at 40 players.
New Orleans 31, Tampa Bay 24
At New Orleans, former BYU standout Taysom Hill was the backup quarterback to Teddy Bridgewater, but he completed a milestone Sunday.
Former Utah safety Marcus Williams made one tackle for the Saints (4-1).
Former Utah kicker and Orem High grad Matt Gay made a 41-yard field goal for the Buccaneers (2-3), and also made three extra points.
Indianapolis 19, Kansas City 13
Former BYU defensive back Daniel Sorensen had two tackles in the Chiefs' first loss of the year.
Former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson was inactive for the contest for Kansas City (4-1).
Green Bay 34, Dallas 24
Former Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell was limited in practice with an undisclosed injury, but returned to play limited snaps for the Packers (4-1).
Former Timpview offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo started at right guard for the Cowboys, and Bingham High grad Dalton Schultz played at tight end but did not record a catch.
Philadelphia 31, NY Jets 6
At Philadelphia, former Logan High quarterback Luke Falk made his second career start as the Jets fell to 0-3.
Falk completed 15 of 26 passes for 120 yards and two interceptions against the Eagles (2-2).
San Francisco 31, Cleveland 3
At San Francisco, former BYU linebacker Fred Warner had a team-high six tackles and a pass defended to help the Niners stay unbeaten with a win over the Browns on Monday Night Football.
Arizona 26, Cincinnati 23
At Cincinnati, Zane Gonzales’ 31-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Cardinals (0-3-1) rally past Cincinnati.
Utah State and Fremont High grad Nick Vigil had a team-high 13 tackles for the Bengals (0-4), who rallied from a 23-9 deficit in the fourth quarter.
New England 33, Washington 7
At Washington, Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy had a pass defended as the Patriots rolled to a 4-0 start.
Buffalo 14, Tennessee 7
At Tennessee, Former Utah star and Bingham High grad Star Lotulelei had two tackles for the Bills (3-1), Utah State alum Maurice Alexander supplied a special-teams tackle and former Weber State star Taron Johnson added a pass breakup.
Former Southern Utah cornerback LeShaun Sims recovered a fumble on special teams for the Titans (2-2).
Denver 20, LA Chargers 13
At Denver, former Utah, Snow College and Westlake High lineman Garett Bolles started on offense to lead the Broncos (1-4) to their first win of the season.
Former BYU defensive back Michael Davis added a pass defended for the Chargers (2-3).
Seattle 30, LA Rams 29
At Seattle, former Utah State star Bobby Wagner had five tackles and a quarterback hurry as the Seahawks held off the Rams on Thursday night.
Former BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah added a tackle as he makes a return from injury for Seattle (4-1).
Ex-Utah standout Eric Weddle made seven tackles for the Rams (3-2), and Aggie alum JoJo Natson returned two punts for 16 yards.