Steve Smith goes on Charlotte radio, calls out former team
By By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun|
Oct 01, 2014 at 4:26 PM
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith ripped Carolina Panthers management on Charlotte radio.
Steve Smith is done dismantling his former team, the Carolina Panthers, on the field. Now he's taking apart the storyline he says they're trying to propagate about his exit.
Days after he scored a pair of touchdowns against his former team, the Ravens wide receiver called into a Charlotte, N.C. radio station, WFNZ, Wednesday to discuss his new circumstances and his feelings about the end of his 12-year career in Carolina.
He outlined the step-by-step process of how he was released, and refuted an NFL Network report that he was released not because of on-field decline, but because he was divisive in the locker room and refused a pay cut.
Smith said in the interview that Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman told him "basically that I'm a shadow of the player I used to be — I can't run and jump like I used to, I'm jealous of Cam [Newton]."
He said that he was told they would trade him, and if a trade couldn't be consummated, they would release him. When he was released, Smith said he heard it on the radio.
"He doesn't even have the cajones to tell it to my face," Smith said. "Everybody else says that it wasn't personal, but if the first thing comes out of your mouth if it wasn't personal, well guess what, it was personal."
He took exception with the idea that he wanted to be released or was difficult to deal with.
"To build a case and start to leak stories that are inaccurate or paint a picture that I forced something, I think that's just unfair," Smith said. "And I think that's basically trying to justify why I'm not here and trying to say that because the way I played, too many people are speaking about."
Smith also took exception with coach Ron Rivera, who he said "wasn't a sore loser" and sought him out after the game.
"Every time I keep reading stuff and reports come out, I just think I was stabbed in the back," Smith said. "Coach Rivera ... he wasn't a sore loser, but yet he never even spoke to me through the whole ordeal. Not one time. He didn't look at me man-to-man and say 'Man, this is what's going down.' He says he's a player's coach. He never came in and said, 'Hey Smitty, this is what's going on man, just wanted to give a heads up, we're moving on.' He hid in his office. Never spoke to me. And then you come at the end of the game, and I played decent, and then you come and shake my hand and tell me, 'Congratulations. I hope the family is well, good luck.' We're supposed to be boys and you respected me, you would have did it from the jump. You don't do it at the end, and then you tell the media a lie so you can look a certain way."
A day earlier, Showtime aired a clip of Smith from the sidelines of the Week 4 game against the Panthers. (Link here, but be warned of foul language.)
"This is a nail in their coffin," Smith said. "You're dead. Take your [expletive] back to Carolina and make sure you mow my lawn too while you're out there. Keep it clean for me."
Smith said he made that comment simply because he could.
"I had an opportunity and that's how I felt," Smith told the station. "I felt like taking a shot, but you know what? In competition, when you play against your former team, that's that competitor in you. You know that. When you play old teams, you love beating them. You hope to beat them. You dreamed of beating them, because they are your opponent."