Steve Smith can be moody. He can be difficult to deal with. But put him in the open field with a football in his hand, and you can see easily why the Panthers still put up with him and why there are thousands of No.89 "Smith" jerseys in Bank of America Stadium today.
Smith and Jake Delhomme just hit on their first really big play of the season -- a 56-yard TD that would have been about a 30-yard completion for all the rest of the Panther receivers.
But Smith is different. He got a free release from the left side of the formation. The safety bit on the play-action. So Smith was in the middle of the field, in a gaping hole, and Delhomme had all day to find him. He did, and then Smith did the rest, splitting two defenders and then doing a Usain Bolt the rest of the way to the end zone.
And I'm talking about Bolt in the 100, the Olympic event where he set the world record and also showboated across the finish line. Smith nearly had the ball knocked out of his hands inside the 5 because he started celebrating early. But he didn't, and the Panthers took a 14-6 lead.
10 months ago