Steve Smith Taking His WR Teammates to Pro Bowl in Hawaii

Only two Carolina Panthers were named to the Pro Bowl, but the team will have many more representatives in Honolulu. Steve Smith, who earned his fifth Pro Bowl honor, has decided to bring his wide receiver teammates with him for the trip to Honolulu.

Smith surprised his teammates last week by telling them he was paying for them to take the trip with him.

“They kind of looked at each other, and I said, ‘I’m serious,’” Smith said. “Once they got the call from my travel agent, they kind of knew it was for real.”

So why is Smith taking them to Honolulu?

“All those guys ran routes to get me open. At times they took it for the team and ran some clear-out routes for me,” Smith said. “For me to sit here and say I did it on my own and all that stuff, it’s unfair. This is an opportunity for me to thank them and enjoy as a group the success that we all played a part in.”

Players who have had successful seasons often give gifts to their teammates as a thank you. Reggie Bush didn’t make the Pro Bowl, but he was grateful for his offensive linemen and bought them some pretty sweet motorized scooters.

I don’t know about you, but I’d take the trip to Hawaii. And that was a pretty nice gesture by Smith, who hasn’t exactly been a model teammate at times.

Steve Smith: Tim Tebow Wouldn’t Make My Son’s Flag Football Team

Tim Tebow has turned almost everyone into a believer these days, but one person who still hasn’t bought in is Panthers receiver Steve Smith. During an appearance on the Dave Dameshek Football Program, Smith gave credit to Tebow for winning, but was unwilling to praise him for being a difference maker.

“I don’t want to be one of the those guys like everybody saying ‘oh he’s not this’ — he’s winning,” Smith conceded. “But at the end of the day, you can’t be 3-10 for three quarters and you go into the fourth quarter. Because Tim Tebow is ‘Tebow Time’ I keep hearing, but nobody is giving credit to who deserves it — which is that defense, because it’s playing lights out.”

“Everybody wants to say Tim Tebow is that difference maker,” Smith said, “he wouldn’t be on my son’s flag football team.”

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Steve Smith Says Cam Newton is the Third-Best Quarterback He’s Played With

Just when it appeared as though Steve Smith’s best years as an NFL receiver were behind him, Cam Newton came along. With Newton at the helm, Smith has had a complete resurgence. The four-time Pro Bowler is second in the NFL with 1,060 receiving yards, and fifth with 18 yards per catch. You would figure that would result in sworn allegiances to Cam, but Steve still has love for some of the other quarterbacks he’s played with.

Asked by Dave Dameshek if Cam is the best quarterback he’s played with, Steve Smith said no.

“I have to be honest, I would say Jake (Delhomme) is No. 1 because Jake’s career is over here in Carolina. Cam, he’s been in the league for about 15 minutes. I think that’s one of the things that the media does. They jump on a train too quick. But Jake played for a number of years, for various teams for various reasons, but at the end of the day, he played a long time because he made plays.

“No. 2 would be a guy who’s probably surprising,” Smith said. “When Jake got hurt, we brought in Vinny Testaverde, and Vinny taught me some things to this day that I have at home on my nightstand. He taught me how to run some routes (from) all the guys he played with, Keyshawn (Johnson), Wayne Chrebet, he played with some guys I grew up admiring. So that’s why Vinny’s No. 2 and Cam’s No. 3.”

I really hope nobody interprets this as a shot at Cam. I actually think it’s cool that Smith thinks fondly of both Delhomme and Testaverde. Many people forget that before he became a useless turnover machine, Jake Delhomme was a productive quarterback who made a Pro Bowl and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Smith won’t forget that, nor should he, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t think Cam will improve.

Here is audio of Smith’s appearance on Dameshek’s podcast. The interview begins around the 21:30 mark.

Steve Smith Distances Himself from Carolina Panthers in Interview

Steve Smith has another two years and $14.75 million left on his contract with the Carolina Panthers, but it’s clear he would like to play for another team. His desire is fair; he is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy, and at 32 years old he probably wants to play for a Super Bowl-caliber team rather than a franchise in rebuilding mode. There has been speculation that he’ll be traded when the lockout ends and that the Chargers are a possible destination. While we don’t know what will happen, what we do know is that Smith is distancing himself from his former team.

First off, Smith has not been in attendance for the team’s recent workouts, citing personal issues. Since we don’t know what’s going on with him personally, it’s not entirely fair to hold his absence against him. However, Joe Person noted in an article on Smith that the receiver referred to Carolina as “they” not “we.”

“I think the fundamental things the Carolina Panthers are doing right now are huge. I think anybody to say they’re not making any moves would be unfair and biased. They’re making great changes.”

Distancing himself from the team by saying “they” indicates Smith’s current mentality, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play with the Panthers if there is a season. It just means he doesn’t feel like he’s a part of the team, and that he likely wants out. We’ve heard the Chargers are interested in him, and if they’re able to land him in a trade, it will make an already explosive offense even more effective. I’m hoping for Smith’s sake that he’s able to get out of Carolina and onto a more competitive team.

Helmet knock to Evan Silva for the tip

Panthers Won’t Punish Steve Smith for Flag Football Injury

On Wednesday, we told you about how Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith suffered a broken arm that required surgery while playing in an adult flag football league.  Obviously, participating in a recreational flag football league is in no way related to a club activity, so if the Panthers’ brass wanted to punish him finanacially for the injury they could have with good reason.

As we could have probably predicted, they aren’t going to.  I mentioned Wednesday that they could easily take the Ben Roethlisberger approach, meaning they don’t want to piss off their franchise player even though he injured himself acting like a bit of a bonehead.  However, I must say that I agree with Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal that the Panthers are doing the right thing.

Unlike Big Ben — who has spent portions of his off-season boozing with college girls and putting himself in stupid situations — Smith was having fun with some friends and got a little too competitive.  They can’t expect professional athletes to refrain from doing anything physical for their own enjoyment in their free time.  The worst part for Carolina is that it’s the second time their star wide receiver has broken the same arm.  As of now it doesn’t look like he’ll miss any regular-season games, but the Panthers can only hope the arm heals properly and doesn’t become a liability.

Panthers won’t hit Smith’s wallet [ESPN NFC South Blog]
Panthers won’t go after Steve Smith’s money [Pro Football Talk]

Panthers’ Steve Smith Breaks Arm During Flag Football Game

An interesting story regarding Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and a broken arm is starting to take form.  Initially, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Smith broke his arm while trying to catch a pass at the Steve Smith Football Camp — his camp for kids.  It turns out that may be the story Smith was hoping everyone would believe.  Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has since done a bit more research and is now reporting that he broke his arm playing in an adult flag football league.

It would certainly make sense for the wide receiver to try and keep the news of his broken arm on the down-low until it could be believed that the injury was sustained during an activity at his camp for kids.  Florio explains why by alluding to this relevant clause of the standard player contract:

Without prior written consent of the Club, Player will not play football or engage in activities related to football otherwise than for Club or engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”

This is the second time he’s broken his arm and it’s possible that the metal plate that was inserted during surgery after Smith broke it during the 2009 season could have contributed to this injury.  He allegedly broke it knocking down a pass while playing defense, so to make matters worse he wasn’t even brushing up on his receiving skills.

Smith is no stranger to missing regular-season games because of off-season antics.  After breaking teammate Ken Lucas’ nose in a fight during practice two years ago, the Panthers suspended him for the first two games of the regular season.  Unless the Panthers decide to do what the Steelers did when Ben Roethlisberger injured himself riding a motorcycle — look the other way — Smith could also have some contractual issues to work out in the coming days.

Steve Smith’s flag football career could get him in trouble with the Panthers [Pro Football Talk]

Panthers Do the Right Thing, Suspend Steve Smith Two Games

Man, that Steve Smith sure is racking up an impressive practice record. At least he’s recording more KOs than Zab Judah this year. In case you missed it, star receiver Steve Smith of the Panthers got into a rumble with teammate Ken Lucas on Friday at practice. How did it happen?

According to several eyewitnesses, the two teammates were on the sidelines discussing a play that happened previously at camp. The talks got heated and Smith stood up and slugged Lucas, who was resting on one knee.

A scuffle ensued and punches were thrown as teammates and coach John Fox charged in to break up the fight. Linebacker Jon Beason had to pull Smith away from Lucas. It took several people to restrain the men and restore order.

Lucas’ face was left bloodied and he was taken immediately to a tent for care. He wound up with a broken nose according to coach John Fox. Apparently Smith has been on Lucas ever since Ken signed a free agent deal with the Panthers. Smith continually jeered Lucas after burning him in practice for touchdowns which caused some friction. Anyway, the Panthers wound up lowering the boom on Steve Smith, suspending the play maker for the first two games of the season.

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