Steve Smith talked to Pro Football Weekly on Sunday and displayed a tremendous amount of remorse. When he returns to practice on Monday, he’ll have to display more than that. He’ll have to show his teammates that he meant what he said to them when he visited with them Sunday to apologize for his actions on the field Friday that left Ken Lucas with a broken nose.
In the interview, Smith said, “I feel horrible. That’s the thing I don’t think people realize, is how remorseful I am and how, in five or six seconds, five or six years has come crashing down. That’s the consequences of my actions. But I won’t let it be the last thing people remember me by as far as a player and as a person. I lost my cool,” Smith told PFW after the fight. “It started with words and escalated from there.”
The Carolina Panthers, more specifically Marty Hurney and John Fox, found themselves in a tough spot. They had to act decisively in this case but they also knew that Smith would play a vital role in their job security.
What happened Friday may very well help put this team in an 0-2 hole after two games and start the season off on the wrong foot. All because Smitty lost his cool.
Smith says he doesn’t want this to be the way he is remembered. “I am not going to run and hide. But I am not going to allow this moment — the paragraph or this chapter — to define my book of life in the end.”
The team held a meeting Sunday where Smith apologized to his teammates. He was seen leaving the meeting with Muhsin Muhammad who, at one point, put his arm around Smith.
You get the feeling that Moose cares about Smith but there has to be some confusion about why he would put himself and his team in this difficult position.
To be honest, Smith might be far from writing the final chapter in the book of his life. The problem is that this chapter will stand out. This is the page-turner that everyone will remember. He should be aware that no one has forgotten the 2002 incident with Anthony Bright. These things don’t go away.
Has anybody forgotten the asinine handling of the T.O. debacle that ended with him working out in his driveway? That made him look like a world class fool. He has since become a solid teammate in Dallas but that image will last in the minds of fans everywhere. Just like the image of Smith being restrained by Jon Beason.
What’s done is done. The Panthers have to soldier on through their first two games without their best player. Win or lose, that’s how it has to be – all because Smith couldn’t contain his emotions.
Training camp continues Monday with Smith back in the huddle. There will be no trapeze or elephants but the circus will most definitely be paying a visit to the Panthers next practice.