Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Steve Smith saga continues

Interesting reading this week in "Pro Football Weekly," which had an interview with Steve Smith. Here's the link to the full story, written by the fine reporter Eric Edholm, who is a friend of mine and has also gotten close to Smith over the years -- the two of them have at times worked on a not-yet-published biography of Smith.

Here are a few excerpts from the PFW story I found particularly interesting as Smith danced around whether he wanted to be a Panther next season or not (he still has two years and close to $15 million remaining on his contract):

-- On the trade "demand": "First of all, have I demanded a trade? I have not demanded a trade. What I have asked for is to be in a competitive situation. I sat down with Marty a lot of times prior to the lockout. I am respected as a veteran amongst the players as well as the front office. So there has been dialogue (about his future in Carolina) prior to the lockout."

-- On his house being on the market and what that means: "I think it's important that people realize I am not packing my bags. As far as why my house is for sale, we built this huge house and we just don't have any business living in it. It seemed like a great idea, and then we moved into this big house.
"We started cringing at all that space we had. For me, it was a little bit vain that I have this big house with this big yard. People saw my house was on sale and said it was me sending a message. Really the message I sent was to my kids: Dad made a mistake. This isn't how we are supposed to live. This isn't what I should be projecting. If we don't do this now, what incentive do I give my kids to reach for? You make a lot of money and then you go blow it? I don't want to be a statistic. I want to be a good steward."

-- On if he expects to be traded (San Diego and Oakland have both been mentioned as possible destinations): "Do I expect to be traded? Really ... to be honest, I am not sure what to expect. That's the truth. Could I see a situation where I stay (in Carolina)? In my mind, I have played out every scenario: I could be moved, I could be cut, I could stay or I could be locked out. Honestly, my family and I are prepared for whatever steps are presented in front of us."

-- On what he wants in 2011 wherever he plays: "The thing that is important to me is that wherever I am (next season), I don't want to go through the mental grind that I have experienced the last two years professionally," he said. "In the last two years, my actions a lot of times have given people the impression that I am disgruntled. That is the emotion that sometimes gives people the opinion that I am volatile.
"What I have been through, really the last two and even three years, I started to doubt my ability. I have been insecure about playing. At times I often have lined up on Sundays — before and during games — wondering if I would be lucky enough to catch more than one pass."

Smith's numbers last season were the worst he has had in a full season since his rookie year (46 catches for 554 yards and only two TDs). PFW reports Smith also played through a quad pull, a left leg injury and a rolled ankle for much of the 2010season.

"Did I lose a step?" Smith asked in the interview. "Anyone would lose a step when you're playing on one leg. I just tried to play through it, and ultimately I looked slow. Instead of 31 (years old), I looked 41. Instead of coming out and gathering myself and taking a backseat, I tried to play through it — and it backfired."

Smith also said the changes the Panthers have made in the offseason were "foundational" and that he "wasn't upset" about them.

So where does all that leave us?

Not much farther down the road, I guess, but at least with a better sense of what Smith is thinking. And, still, with no idea really whether he has played his last game for the Panthers or not.

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think most would agree it would be sad to see Steve go. Some may disagree with his antics, but he has given much to Charlotte and the Carolina Panthers. He is why many of us continue to support our home team. Hope you stay Smitty.

Anonymous said...

Panthers need a healthy Steve Smith. If Newton works out, Panthers will be in the playoffs in a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Smith is a thug and a major reason I quit paying any attention to Panthers games.

Anonymous said...

Smith needs to go, and go far far away. He has to be in the spotlight and can't stand it now that he has lost his step and there are new guys on the team. Maybe he can resume his job as the starting receiver for the Siskey Y since that is where he preferred playing last year.

Anonymous said...

A biography of Smith? Now that's a joke. Here's the table of contents:

1. How to sucker punch a teammate.
2. How to sucker punch a teammate, again.
3. How to dance when you catch a ball out of bounds.
4. How to sulk on the sidelines every single game.
5. How I violated my contract playing flag football.
6. How it is all about me and there's an "M" and an "E" in team.

latrell said...

I could care less if he stays. Ron and the rest of that organization are going to be busy enough keeping cam newton on the straight and narrow to worry about whether or not steve is going to suckerpunch next. Go with the youth movement.

Stephen C. James said...

Wow! I have even more respect for Steve Smith after hearing his comments about selling his house. He's always been my favorite player for the Panthers, and probably will be for years to come regardless of what happens.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11:42am
Smith isn't a thug, you moron.
Do you know what a thug is?
Here is an example: Rae Carruth.
Steve Smith has given so much to Carolina and I believe he deserves to be on a Super Bowl contending team, not the aim-for-.500 Panthers. Maybe the Panthers will step it up and spend money and take chances next football season.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Smith's best years are behind him...

jdheel said...

Not sure what is in the future for Steve, but let me add that today is his birthday. He and I were born on the same day in 1979.

Happy birthday, Steve!

Anonymous said...

Give it up! Who really cares what he does or where he goes.

Anonymous said...

Later for the haters Steve....You're thinking logical...I agree that the house is too much space for five people. Sell the house, downsize, and invest your money in a modest home that will accommodate your family....Good luck on wherever you land......You and live and learn from your past mistakes and move on.

Anonymous said...

Goddbye Steve. And take the rest of the NFL with you. I am sick and tired of millionaire whiners and thugs.
Give me college football from now on.

Anonymous said...

If I had to read between the lines of this interview I'd say Steve is a goner from the Panthers. Some may say it's a bad idea but I say if you're gonna start fresh start fresh it will be hard to let any other players strive with one who is so demanding of his own "spotlight"....time to build a whole new team.

Anonymous said...

I guess if you life is miserable your comments here reflect that.

I say Steve your awesome and I'd love to see you with Rivers in San Diego just to see what all you could do with a top shelf quarterback.

Jerry defunded the Panthers for a while, best get out while you can.

Anonymous said...

Buh-Bye, Steve! Take your attitude and your injuries with you.

James said...

SS can be volatile but he has been our most ferocious onfield competitor for most of the last 10 years and I would hate to see him go. He has, however, earned the right to ask (not demand) a trade to a competitor while he still has something to offer and who can really blame him. I will be pulling for him next season regardless of the uniform he is wearing.

latrell said...

If you idolize a rotten teamate punching thug like steve smith... what does it say about you?

Anonymous said...

Bye Bye Smith

Tim Collie - season ticket holder said...

89 should retire here. But I get his frustration, you only have 10 years or so to play, and he can't play thru more Clausen, Moore, insert scrub here, etc

Anonymous said...

Gee Wiz... Steve, with "fans" like these I can't blame you for possibly wanting to go elsewhere. Wherever you end up I'm a real fan.

Tim Collie - season ticket holder said...

None of you "anonymous" wussies would say a word to him if you saw 89 at church or at the mall....cowards

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:03 - please enlighten us as to how it was Jerry's fault when Steve Smith violated his contract and injured himself showboating at the Siskey Y.

Anonymous said...

sooo don't care

Anonymous said...

Steve Smith has done nothing for this city...I do not see any superbowls....

Anonymous said...

He's a thug with anger management issues. Trade him before he's worthless.

Chris Frye said...

Hey Tim, I would say it to his face in a heartbeat.

panfan1 said...

Hope the best pure athlete for the Panthers at least gets traded to potential Superbowl team. He deserves it! I can see him going to New England. His numbers might have been the best for a WR if he had a real QB throwing to him & a non chaulant offense under Fox! Good luck Steve wherever you land! I'll be pulling for you no matter!

Anonymous said...

Trade hin NOW while you still have a chance to get some value for him.

Anonymous said...

Tim Collie - season ticket holder said...
None of you "anonymous" wussies would say a word to him if you saw 89 at church or at the mall....cowards
**************************
You are right about that. But probably because if they did, Smith would sucker punch them.

Anonymous said...

panfan 1 -

you are not a panther fan - you are a smitty fan. How can you say you are a panther fan and then say you want our best athlete traded? You sound like a woman

BooBear said...

I think it's awesome that he's matured to the point he's recognizing the big house chase as vanity and poor stewardship. Like to see him stay and set an example for others. And have some fun playing football again.

Matt said...

Apparently the word "suckerpunch" is fun to type. Here's what I remember: nobody on the team being really upset with Smith when he punched Lucas. Smith coming to see if Lucas was OK and talking with him repeatedly throughout the season on the sidelines. Lucas *apologizing* for the entire incident. Not Smith. Conclusion: Lucas most likely said something he shouldn't oughta (I'm guessing something about Smith's family, but I don't know that), and Smith punched him for it.

Smith is the best player in the history of the franchise, hands down. You "fans" badmouthing him are either unspeakably ignorant about what you're talking about or ought to be ashamed of yourself. Two fights with teammates in ten years is a freakin' choirboy in the NFL! Where are this "thug's" penalties that cost us games? Where are the suspensions that real thugs get for dirty play? Nowhere, that's where. He's led on and off the field and given us more than any player we've ever had! Remember when Kerry Collins quit the team for "lack of passion"? Remember when we traded two first-round picks for Sean Gilbert's busted knees? Remember when Rae Carruth tried to have his girlfriend and unborn child killed for crying out loud?!?!

Save your hostility for something real, people! Steve, I hope you stay, but if not, I hope you get somewhere you can win big. You've put in the time, you deserve that.

Anonymous said...

Basically the guy is an idiot and I would be sad if he leaves... Only because I don't care for the Panthers and a turd like SS is simply a cancer to their attempts at success.

Anonymous said...

Smiths thug legacy will be replaced by Newton although Smith looks like a alter boy beside him.

Anonymous said...

@ Matt - name one single other NFL player in the past ten years who has hit two fellow teammates when they weren't looking and put them in the hospital. Name one or shut it.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see Steve leave Carolina. He has been great for this area and team. I only wish and his the best...But I do hope he stays.

Anonymous said...

@Matt. Hey dude!! Don't forget about me. I didn't say anything about his family and he sucker punched me too. Blind sided me.Ended my career. I hate big plans. I could have been a star.
Anthony Bright

Anonymous said...

Matt, sucker punch is not only fun to type, but it is also the truth. It doesn't matter what was said, you don't punch a guy who is sitting down.
Franchise's best player hands down? Peppers, not Smith. See which one gets into the Hall of Fame.

Thomas Hayes said...

A thug? You guys are hilarious! I think Clarett, Jamarcus, Pacman. Heck, TO and OCHo aren't even thugs, maybe a little mental, but not thugs. He has always kept his mouth shut and played football for the most part. He lays it on the line every week. Have any of you ever done things in your life you regret, i.e. puching a teammate, yes even twice. Don't be hipocrits. Good luck nect year Smitty, whatever it may take you. Go PANTHERS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kept his mouth shut? Did you watch any games the past two years? His yap was running for the entire game. And, on the rare occurrence when it wasn't running, he was sulking under a towel on the bench, between making meaningless 4 yard catches, complete with stupid dances afterward.

J said...

Good gawd, most of you are such bitter, miserable beings. I have suggestions for you: Lexapro. Simbalta. Zoloft. Paxil. Prozac. See a doctor and get one.

Yes, Smith punched out 2 teammates. He was punished by the team. He made amends with the teammates and served his time. And he has not acted in such a manner in 4 years. GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If the rest of the team were half as dedicated to winning - and that includes the front office - we wouldn't be nearly as big a mess as we are. I hope we keep him and one of these other WRs develop into a serious threat so Smith stops getting triple-teamed.

Anonymous said...

Hard to be triple teamed when you are sitting on the sideline injured from playing flag football.

Anonymous said...

Steve is the best athlete to ever suit up for the Panthers. He's the heart of the team and it would be really hard to see him go. Here's hoping Big Cat comes through like he promised the PSL owners in his letter and spends some major dollars once free agency opens up to give Steve a reason to believe we can compete.

There aren't a lot of guys I feel strongly should retire a Panther, but Steve is definitely one of 'em. I hope he knows how much he's appreciated by the majority of the Panther fan base. The haters on this board do not represent the thinking of the many Panther fans I know.

Anonymous said...

If I were Smith, I would demand to be traded. Can you imagine trying to catch a pass thrown by Cam Newton? Or, being led by a pip squeak "icon?" Nobody could keep his temper under control in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it would be most entertaining to see pretty-boy Newton on the receiving end of a Smith temper tantrum. That possibility is probably the only thing that would be worth the price of a Panthers' ticket next season. That and the look of abject horror in Marty Hurney's eyes.

Do Your Part said...

I hate it that we are all in this position. I hate it that the Panthers haven't had a good QB in the past 3 years. I hate it that the QBs couldn't get the ball to Smitty so he could do his thing for all of us. I hate it that because of the QB problems, his legacy is at risk. He had a legit chance to become our first, and so far, only Hall of Fame candidate. I hate it that we may not have football this season. And, selfishly, I'd hate it if Smitty didn't finish his career here with the Panthers. He is that rare athlete that can take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He is tough and a good man. Don't listen to the haters, Smitty. I'd hate that too.

Trish said...

Good Luck Steve. I hope your next team appreciates your talent. You are all heart and give your everything. I will miss your amazing catches!!! Trish Barber

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go ahead and assume the guy who called Smith a "thug" is one fo the many displaced Yankees who has loyalties to the Steelers, Bills, etc. He's a thug? The dude volunteers for everything under the sun, has his own kids camp every summer and coaches his kid's soccer team.

If Smith - who's the most exciting player ever to don a Panthers uniform-is the "reason you quit paying attn to the Panthers," then you are a truly misguided "fan." (Who also, by that logic, stopped watching before they went to the Superbowl???) And how can he be a thug? He's never even been arrested...

This guy was born and bred in California yet never claimed to be "too big" for CLT or the Panthers. He loved playing for the franchise and he loves the city of CLT and now, his days are numbered and he wants to win. Can you blame him?

Anonymous said...

I've got a lot of respect for Steve. He's got a hot head but in competition, who doesn't? He does seem pretty level headed, especially his comments about why he's selling his house. Typically, the tendancy for pro sports players to go "bigger and better" but it seems like he is actually thinking smart.

Bob said...

Steve Smith is an amazing player and it has been frustrating not to see him have an opportunity to do his thing on the football field. The youth of our community have been blessed by all the time he has given to support and encourage them. He has been an excellent role model. Thank you Steve Smith.

Matt said...

I wondered who would bring up Bright. I'll admit, I'm a little fuzzier on the details of that one which is why I didn't bring it up, but if I remember correctly there was an argument in the film room that ended in a punch. That would mean we're talking about two fights, not sucker punches (and it's two words, for the record). The fact that both ended with one punch suggests to me that you shouldn't get in a fight with Steve Smith. As for who's gotten into fights with teammates throughout the league, well, I'd say most preseasons have one or two fights every year for every team in the league. You only care about those because you read about them here. Every beat writer could tell you dozens of tales of screaming matches and scuffles and fights all over the practice field, but they usually don't matter once the season starts, just like here. Smith just really got his money's worth in both of his fights and the local press couldn't stop wondering whether it would affect the season, so people still remember it. Plus he's a trash talker who plays with a chip on his shoulder, so those who don't like him choose to believe he's much more of a monster than he's ever actually been.

As for the HOF, I love Peppers, he was in my class at UNC. This past year was the first time he wasn't on my team since high school, but I'd say neither of them are locks at this point and Smith's accomplishments stack up better than Pep's right now. Neither one of them has a ring, remember? But I stand by my statement that Smith has done more for our team and personally won us more games. By any standard he's the best we've ever had, and my guess is that Pep would agree with me.

But the point is not whether you like Smith, my comment was a call for perspective. I notice nobody had anything to say about the dramatically worse situations I mentioned, just how dishonorable it is to hit a guy when he's not looking. Well, I don't remember that happening, I remember a fight he won with Bright and a confrontation that led to a punch with Lucas. The only suckers were the ones thinking Smith wouldn't retaliate to provocation. Anybody got a link to describe the details of these vicious, cowardly attacks you're all so scandalized by? And are two fights really the standard of being a thug? If so, you'd have a shorter list of players who weren't thugs than ones who are in the NFL today. Again, perspective guys. Perspective.

Anonymous said...

@latrell,

Let's hear your take on hockey fighting...they sucker punch and tackle opponents all time. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah we hear it all the time the NFL and NBA players are all thugs but hockey is different. LOL

Tommy Greenoe said...

Oh how easily we seem to forget the past. When I think of Steve Smith I always remember him winning the "triple crown of receivers" in 2005. Have we heard of anyone else doing this in recent years? He has done a lot for this team and no matter his off the field antics, he has been a great player for this team. That is what I think is really what we are looking for right???

Anonymous said...

Biography:
1. 4 times to the Pro Bowl
2. 2nd all in team receiving yardage.
3. Hold 7 of the top ten Panthers single game receiving performances. Including the #1 spot.
4. 2 only to John Kasay for Panthers all time scoring leader.
5.2 times lead the NFL in receiving yardage.
6.2005 NFL season reception leader.

And that's with crappy QB's.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys really want to play AGAINST him?

Remember how dangerous he is when playing with a good QB and for an offense that actually throws passes?

redhott13 said...

D@mn, he is fine!!

Anonymous said...

Steve Smith is an amazing player. I would hate to see one of our best players leave the Panthers. He has done so much for the team and I believe that you deserve a ring. Im hoping you stay so that you can get that ring with the Panthers. Good luck where you go, however I hope you stay home!!!!

Jerome said...

I want to see you get a Ring Steve, whether it's here or somewhere else. You've become a class guy, and you always were a GREAT player! Thanks Smith!

Chris said...

I agree with that. Steve has been such a force for this team that any decision he makes will be well respected by most Panthers fans. Like coach Fox, it has been a pleasure, in the good and bad times, to have them on this team. I hope Steve stays with us but I will never be bitter if he leaves.

Anonymous said...

best panther ever.

V Johnson said...

I hope you don't leave Steve but if you do I'll always wear my #89 jersey with PRIDE !!! TEAM #89 ALWAYS !!!!

Anonymous said...

Stay Steve -- The statue would be worth it for your kids and grandkids to see.

A bronze statue of you bitch slapping Cam Newton after another one read and run play ............

SgtRock said...

He is freaking 32 years old.

He previous success was dependent on speed.

He wants to continue as a WR then he needs to transition into a 3rd down possession WR.

Anonymous said...

Like all true Panther fans, I want him to stay, I believe he is the best player the Panthers ever had. However, if he wants to leave I understand and I hope he'll get a Super Bowl ring. I hope he ends up in San Diego, and when he retires he and his family make Charlotte his permanent home.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8:35 am go back to where you moved here from and pull for the eagles. They love a$$holes there.

Michael Bacon said...

"We started cringing at all that space we had. For me, it was a little bit vain that I have this big house with this big yard. People saw my house was on sale and said it was me sending a message. Really the message I sent was to my kids: Dad made a mistake. This isn't how we are supposed to live. This isn't what I should be projecting. If we don't do this now, what incentive do I give my kids to reach for? You make a lot of money and then you go blow it? I don't want to be a statistic. I want to be a good steward."

Those are the words of a man who's grown up a whole lot in the past decade. I advocated trading or cutting Smith after his fight with Hankton. Smitty, you're not the only one who was wrong. Smith has grown into a real Man and I would love to see him finish his career with the Panthers, but wouldn't resent him wanting to go to a contender one bit at all.

Anonymous said...

So Scam is signing with Amour?
Amour makes that nasty fake ham called Spam.

So Scam the ham signs with Spam the fake ham. Good fit.

The only saving grave from a 2-14 repeat or maybe 0-16 with a new weak inex QB is the scab union strike and no NFL in 2011.

At least JR will unload Smith who couldnt make it in the CFL.

Anonymous said...

Best. Panther. Ever. So much better than the waste of talent #90 who is no longer here. Regardless of whether #89 is here or not in the coming years. He is exiting (or staying) with a high degree of class.

Anonymous said...

Best Panther ever in whos eyes? Criminals?

John Kasay has scored 5 times as many points and won 10 times as many games and never had any probs cold cocking other players or team mates and been perfect in discipline.

Prob a wife beater too. He said his hero was some criminal named OJ didnt he? go fig

Anonymous said...

The best that Steve can do is win a few more games than he would here. He might as well stay os go to San Deigo and win a few more games but they won't win a super bowl.

MFN Panthers said...

"Best Panther ever in whos eyes? Criminals?

John Kasay has scored 5 times as many points and won 10 times as many games and never had any probs cold cocking other players or team mates and been perfect in discipline."

-Yes, only criminals get in fights. Yeah for Kasay. All kickers score more points. Smith is the leading non kicker in points for the panthers ever. To show you how much of an advantage in point scoring kickers have, Joe Nedney, who has played 12 entire games for the panthers is the 9th leading scorer of all-time. You were close on the 5 times more points, but won ten times more games? Impossible. he hasn't even played twice as many, so good luck winning ten times as many. John Kasay has been a great panther, but he also missed a fg and kicked the ball out of bounds to blow the super bowl. Seeing as your post was the most illiterate of all the comments on this blog, it doesn't surprise me that yours is also the most incorrect.

iservepharmacy said...

I think this dude have a lot of future. Sometimes he looks like he have like attitude problems but he's an strong and fast player