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All-time great Carolina Panthers player will join broadcast team for preseason games

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith is joining the broadcast team for three preseason games this season.

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith is joining the broadcast team for three preseason games this season.

Former Carolina Panthers great Steve Smith Sr. will step into the broadcast booth for the first time in his career as an analyst for the Panthers’ preseason games, the team announced Monday morning.

Smith, who played for the Panthers from 2001 to 2013, will join play-by-play announcer Taylor Zarzour and sideline reporter Kristen Balboni on Carolina’s broadcast team to call the three games.

The Panthers play the Colts (Aug. 15 in Indianapolis), Ravens (Aug. 21) and Steelers (Aug. 27) this preseason.

Since he retired in 2016, Smith has served as an analyst for the NFL Network. He also has his own podcast.

But he’s never called a game.

“I’m looking forward to talking about these games from a former player’s perspective and why these games are significant,” Smith Sr. said in a press release. “For these young men, this is their chance to make the roster.

“Breaking that down and giving some substance and texture to why that is important, I think sometimes that lacks in game broadcasts. I feel like this is my opportunity to break that down and explain why this is important, and I’ll try to bring that to the table with my unique spin as an analyst.”

Zarzour will be the new Panthers play-by-play announcer for the Panthers TV network. Zarzour co-hosted WFNZ’s The Drive, with Marc James, for three years, where the then-Panthers receiver often made appearances.

He left The Drive for Sirius XM radio in 2014. He now manages and hosts on the PGA Tour Radio channel and does games for the SEC Network.

Jonathan M. Alexander is a native of Charlotte. He began covering the Carolina Panthers for the Observer in July after working at the N&O for seven years, where he covered a variety of beats, including UNC basketball and football, Duke basketball, recruiting, K-12 schools, public safety and town government.
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