It's Monday, and everyone associated with the Panthers seem to be either angry or depressed.
I wrote my column today on the Panthers' embarrassing performance in their 30-3 loss to Tennessee Sunday, but what seems to be drawing more attention on our website is my postgame exchange with Steve Smith.
You can read the whole thing here, but a couple of points first since I keep getting asked questions similar to these in emails:
1) I wasn't trying to bait Smith with a question about what happened at the end of the game. I honestly wondered -- and still wonder. Why was Smith so angry at that point in the game? Why did the coaches pull him out following the play? What exactly happened? That's what I wanted to know.
2) I've gotten a number of comments basically in the vein that I shouldn't be asking players hard questions like that when they haven't had much time to cool off. I understand the point there, but there is a 10-15 minute "cooling off" period before the media is allowed inside the locker room to talk to players. And these types of questions are asked literally after every game, by the dozens. When the Panthers win, reporters ask what happened on the plays that went well. When they lose, reporters ask what happened on the plays that went poorly.
Anyway, here's the transcript. It wasn't the first time Smith has gotten testy with me and it certainly won't be the last. I've covered all of his 11-year career for the Panthers, and to me he remains the best player the team has ever employed.
11 months ago