Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman raised eyebrows at the NFL Scouting Combine last week when he chose not to commit to veteran wide receiver Steve Smith.

"Steve's had a great career," Gettleman said, "and the bottom line is, it's part of the evaluation process."

Now Smith has responded, explaining that comments by Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera were "discouraging" and took him "by surprise."

"(I) would have wished that I would have been afforded the opportunity to be given a heads up by our GM and also with coach (Ron) Rivera," Smith told WBT-AM in Charlotte. "When I did my exit meeting, no one spoke to me about it in that manner, so the unfortunate part of it is I had to hear secondhand."

Smith also had an issue with the way in which Gettleman described his career.

"We have to read into things and we try not to, but when we speak of an individual's career in the past tense, I think ultimately it would suggest that a team is moving on, and that's all I can do," he said. "No one has still reached out to me and told me anything."

Smith was asked if he could imagine himself playing elsewhere.