When Steve Smith went down with an Achilles injury, it signaled potentially the end of his incredible NFL career. While his time with the Carolina Panthers may not have ended in the best way possible, head coach Ron Rivera still had great things to say about the wide receiver.

Not only did Rivera speak about how sad the injury was, but also said he wouldn't be surprised to see Smith as the first player from the Panthers in the Hall of Fame, according to David Newton of ESPN.

"I was very sad to see that," Rivera told ESPN of Smith's injury. "I mean that, too. He's been such a great player in this league for as long as he has been. I've said it before, I wouldn't be surprised if he's one of the first players from this organization to make the Hall of Fame."

As for the potential for Smith to retire as a Panther? Well, Rivera is all for it.

"He's deserved it," Rivera said. "He's earned that opportunity."

We all want to see Smith return for one more year, and it'll be something to watch after the 2015 season winds down.

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