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After a difficult year, former Browns DE Chris Smith returns home to sign with Panthers

Chris Smith Browns
Posted at 3:29 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 09:31:41-05

After a heartbreaking year, former Browns defensive end Chris Smith has things going his way again—finding his way back to a team, returning to his home state to sign with the Carolina Panthers.

Smith signed to the Browns as an unrestricted free agent on March 15, 2018. He played in all 16 games of the 2018 season, starting in two games. In 2019, Smith played in nine games with the Browns before being released on Dec. 3.

Despite releasing Smith, the team's then head coach Freddie Kitchens issued his full support of the defensive end during the difficult time.

"Our football relationship ended, but that does not mean our personal relationship from my standpoint, his teammates and this organization. We will always be there to support Chris," Kitchens said.

Before he was cut by the Browns, Smith faced tragedy off the field. Smith lost his girlfriend Petara Cordero in September in a tragic crash on I-90. Cordero exited Smith’s Lamborghini after the tire blew out on the vehicle and was standing on the north shoulder of I-90 westbound when a woman struck and killed her. Just a few months prior to the crash, Smith and Cordero welcomed a baby girl, Haven Harris Smith, into the world.

While 2019 was rough for Smith, 2020 seems to be a turning page in his life and career.

The North Carolina native signed a one-year deal with the Panthers, finding a light at the end of a dark few months.

RELATED: Freddie Kitchens on releasing defensive end Chris Smith: 'It's very difficult'

What Happened Now?

BROWNS 2022 SCHEDULE

Preseason

  • Week 1 - Aug. 12 - 7 p.m. - Jacksonville Jaguars - (away)
  • Week 2 - Aug. 21 - 1 p.m. - Philadelphia Eagles - (home) - on News 5
  • Week 3 - Aug. 27 - 7 p.m. Chicago Bears - (home) - on News 5

Regular Season

  • Week 1 - Sept. 11 - 1 p.m. - Carolina Panthers (away)
  • Week 2 - Sept. 18 - 1 p.m. - New York Jets (home opener)
  • Week 3 - Sept. 22 - 8:15 p.m. - Pittsburgh Steelers (home)
  • Week 4 - Oct. 4 - 1 p.m. - Atlanta Falcons (away)
  • Week 5 - Oct. 9 - 1 p.m. - Los Angeles Chargers (home)
  • Week 6 - Oct. 16 - 1 p.m. - New England Patriots (home)
  • Week 7 - Oct. 23 - 1 p.m. - Baltimore Ravens (away)
  • Week 8 - Oct. 31 - 8:15 p.m. - Cincinnati Bengals (home)
  • Week 9 - Nov. 6 - Bye Week
  • Week 10 - Nov. 13 - 1 p.m. - Miami Dolphins (away)
  • Week 11 - Nov. 20 - 1 p.m. - Buffalo Bills (away)
  • Week 12 - Nov. 27 - 1 p.m. - Tampa Buccaneers (home)
  • Week 13 - Dec. 4 - 1 p.m. - Houston Texans (away)
  • Week 14 - Dec. 11 - 1 p.m. - Cincinnati Bengals- (away)
  • Week 15 - TBA - Baltimore Ravens (home)
  • Week 16 - Dec. 24 - 1 p.m. - New Orleans Saints (home)
  • Week 17 - Jan. 1 - 1 p.m. - Washington Commanders (away)
  • Week 18 - TBA - Pittsburgh Steelers