WR Steve Smith praises Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s participation in negotiations

Wide receiver Steve Smith (above, left), who begins his 10th season with the Carolina Panthers and is the team’s player representative, told David Scott in today’s Charlotte Observer that he is pleased Panthers owner-founder Jerry Richardson (above, right) will be heavily involved in labor negotiations.

“All the stuff I’ve read, (the owners) are united. That’s great. The NFLPA is unified as well. With Mr. Richardson at the helm, he’s a man of integrity and one of the owners that’s played the game. He knows what it’s about, what this game is,” Smith said of Richardson, who is co-chair of the NFL’s 10-member Management Council Executive Committee which is responsible for labor negotiations.

“With him there,” Smith continued, “it’s going to be more of a push together to allow football to go on and not deal with a lockout. That’s what I take, knowing very well the integrity and the things Mr. Richardson tells the players and what he stands for.”

“It’s really good to have him,” said Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, also a former player on the Management Council Executive Committee, in an interview with ESPN.com. “He’s so respected and has such great experience. [With] his background and perspective — he was a player in the league — it really is beneficial to have him there. It really adds a lot.’’

For more from Mark Murphy on the negotiations, click here.

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