CHARLOTTE, N. Joe Thornton Jersey .C. -- The Steve Smith era in Carolina is over. The Panthers released their all-time leading receiver on Thursday after 13 seasons. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said it "was not an easy decision" in a press release. "Steve has been one of the NFLs finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the teams history," Gettleman said. "As a team, we made a step forward last year; however we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL." Smith said on radio Thursday hes not angry about the decision. "Its devastating to hear that you are getting fired, but its also exciting because that frees me up to be pursued by other teams," Smith told Taylor Zarzour of SiriusXMs Bleacher Report Radio." I have never become a free agent before so I will get a few free dinners out of it at some nice expensive restaurants. I want to enjoy the experience that, frankly, I will never experience again." Smith reiterated he wants to play in the NFL and that being released "awoke a sleeping giant" inside of him. The decision comes one day after Smiths agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press that the 13-year NFL veteran "is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that." Fox said the Panthers never asked Smith, who turns 35 in May, to restructure his current contract. The Panthers were unable to trade Smith, who was set to cost $7 million under this years salary cap. The Panthers still owe Smith $3 million this season. The decision has not been a popular one among Carolina fans. Gettleman addressed that in his press release. "When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way," Gettleman said. "To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly its the right one." "As Ive stated many times, all decisions I make will be in the long-term best interest of the Carolina Panthers. Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view. Sometimes it may appear that short term interests will suffer, and I can assure you we have no interest in taking a step back from our 2013 accomplishments." The Panthers also lost wide receivers Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn Jr. to free agency on Thursday. Hixon signed with the Chicago Bears and Ginn with the Arizona Cardinals. Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn told The Associated Press he has signed with the Minnesota Vikings for a deal that could pay him $15 million over three years with incentives. One possible replacement at wide receiver is free agent Hakeem Nicks, a Charlotte native who played for New York Giants. The Smith move marks the end of an era for the Panthers. Smith joined the team as a third-round draft pick out of Utah in 2001. He made an immediate impact in the NFL, returning the opening kickoff of the season for a touchdown against the Vikings. He became the first Panthers rookie selected to the Pro Bowl, earning that honour as a return specialist. Known for his feisty behaviour on the field, Smith became a dominant receiver over the next 12 seasons. He is Carolinas all-time leader with 75 total touchdowns and has 836 receptions for 12,197 yards. "On the football field Steve had a competitive arrogance that (was) second to none -- second to none," said former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme in a telephone interview. "That helped him be as good as he was. He made other guys step up their game. But off the field he was totally different. He loves his wife and his family. Hes a genuinely good person with a great heart." Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in the release: "He is a great competitor with Hall of Fame-worthy statistics and has made a great contribution to our community." Fox said Smith would have welcomed a chance to move inside to slot receiver, but the team never offered him that opportunity. As productive as Smith was, his fiery personality often rubbed people the wrong way, and some viewed him as a distraction in the locker room. Smith had run-ins with teammates on at least two occasions. He punched out fellow wide receiver Anthony Bright in a film room fight and later socked cornerback Ken Lucas on the field during a practice at training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. On both occasions, Smith was suspended by the team. Delhomme said that was a "humbling experience" for Smith, who apologized to Lucas and the teams fans after the incident. Despite the two incidents, Smith was immensely popular with the fan base, in large part due to his production on the field. He also worked hard to change his public image over the last several years and has been an active member of the Charlotte community. When asked if he was surprised Smith was released, Delhomme said, "It does surprise, but thats the NFL. I mean, look, Peyton Manning plays for the Denver Broncos -- that the way it goes." NOTES: Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson announced Thursday on Twitter he has re-signed with Carolina for a fourth season. Anderson tweeted: "Happy to be coming back to Charlotte next season!" Aaron Dell Jersey . - Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has cleared league-mandated concussion protocol and has returned to practice as a full participant. Adidas Martin Jones Jersey .Martin Caceres marked his return from injury by scoring in the 3-1 win at Napoli and he believes Juventus sent out a warning to the rest of the league with that result.We go out on the pitch every game looking to give our all, Caceres said. http://www.cheapsharksjerseys.com/ .com) - The 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes continue a four-game homestand at Value City Arena on Wednesday night when they face off against the High Point Panthers in a non-conference matchup.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars had the lead, the momentum and the ball coming out of halftime Sunday.They squandered all of it.Jacksonville had a second half to forget in a 27-13 loss to Houston, a common theme in the franchises fourth straight losing season.I dont know what happened in the second half, said receiver Cecil Shorts III, whose head-scratching drop contributed to the teams woes. I know we didnt play well enough to win. Weve got to figure out a way to get better in the second half.Jacksonvilles lowlights included:— Being outscored 17-0 in the second half.— Gaining 73 yards in the second half, including just 4 in the third quarter.— Holding the ball for 9-plus minutes after the break.— Allowing 180 yards in the final 30 minutes.I cant pinpoint a reason right now, left tackle Luke Joeckel said. It needs to get fixed.Its been a problem all season, really.The Jaguars (2-11) have been outscored 79-32 in the third quarter. Theyve been even worse in the second period, which is when teams start making in-game adjustments.Jacksonvilles youth and inexperience are surely part of the issue, but the Jaguars arent making excuses, especially a week after they dominated the New York Giants in the second half.There are some things that we wanted to go out there and do, and adjustments we wanted to make, but we couldnt in that third quarter, tight end Marcedes Lewis said. So once again, we put ourselves behind the 8-ball going into the fourth quarter. Now were playing catch-up where we have to pass the ball, and then theyre teeing off on us. Its tough in this league when you put yourself in that position.Even tougher when J.J. Watt is on the other side of the ball.Watt created major problems, finishing with three sacks and five quarterback hits. The Jaguars lost starting right tackle Auustin Pasztor last week and went with unproven veteran Sam Young. Barclay Goodrow Jersey. . Not surprisingly, Watt dominated the matchup. He was most disruptive once the Texans took a double-digit lead.Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 205 yards, with a touchdown to Allen Hurns and the costly interception. Denard Robinson ran 10 times for 30 yards.Lewis was one of the few bright spots, catching three passes for 69 yards — his best performance since Week 2.Young or not, were in the NFL, Lewis said. At some point, you have to put it behind you and take a step forward in the right direction. ... For one reason or another, we keep ending up behind the 8-ball. It sounds like a broken record.The Jaguars led 13-10 at halftime and had done so much right.But everything went wrong from there, and the franchise lost for the 37th time in its last 45 games. Of those, 27 have been by double digits.Houstons Arian Foster ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, a 1-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter was the play of the game.After quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got stuffed on third down, the Texans lined up for a field goal before calling time out and opting to go for it. Foster emphatically told coach Bill OBrien he wanted the ball.Foster initially looked he would be stopped for a loss, but he eluded a tackle, headed in the other turned the other way and high-stepped into the end zone.I was just screaming for him to give me the ball, Foster said. We took a step in the right direction.The Jaguars headed the other way.We need to find a way to get better in the second half, Shorts said. Im not sure what happened, but weve got to figure out a way to get things going. We cant have one good half and one bad half. We have to play a full game together.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '