Panther wide receiver Steve Smith said Wednesday he now regrets telling the media that he had “lit into” Cam Newton Thursday night, but said he doesn’t regret the original conversation with Newton.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Smith said, clarifying later that he meant he shouldn’t have said anything to the media, not to Newton. “So that really falls on me. Hey, sometimes when you try to help, you do more harm than good.”
Smith, a team captain, had approached Newton on the bench Thursday night during the Panthers’ 36-7 loss to the New York Giants. He was upset that Newton was sitting alone on the bench instead of standing by the coaches, taking “mental reps” and paying more attention to what was going on when Derek Anderson quarterbacked the team during the final few minutes with the game out of hand.
Coach Ron Rivera said earlier this week he wished that Smith had kept the resulting conversation private instead of answering reporters’ questions about it. Smith said Friday, among other things: “If I am afraid to say something, who will? The same way if I'm afraid to teach a son from mistakes, I can't expect somebody else to be that. So yeah, I got into him, I lit into him, because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what's going on. This is more than about playing football. It's about becoming a man.”
Newton said Wednesday he looked up to Smith like he was his “big brother” and that their relationship was fine. Smith said much the same thing Wednesday as the 1-2 team continued preparation for its road game against 3-0 Atlanta Sunday.
“We’re good,” Smith said. “Hey, I look at him as a big little brother. You’re going to fight. You’re going to spat. But you’ll always be able to come back to it.”
-- On a totally different subject, Smith said there was no way that Golden Tate caught the disputed touchdown ball in Seattle’s last-second win over Green Bay Monday night. Said Smith: "Hey, I’m a wide receiver and I’m always rooting for a wideout, but that wasn’t no catch."
6 months ago