Sports Illustrated recently released a poll that ranked the meanest players in the NFL according to the players themselves. The Carolina Panthers were represented on the list by the one and only Steve Smith. Smith was ranked the 12th meanest player in the NFL by his peers, out of 15 player list. Smith was just fifth offensive player on the list and just the second skill position player ranked, behind longtime Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward.
Smith has always been known as a fire cracker and someone who doesn’t take much from anyone. In his time with the Panthers he has gotten into two fights with teammates during practice, the most recent with Ken Lucas a few years back and countless scuffles on the field with opposing defensive backs.
My favorite of those scuffles happened back in 2007. The Panthers were playing the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, just like this week and won thanks to some Steve Smith head games. Smith only had a single catch but he got so far into cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s head he forced Hall to make three consecutive penalties starting with a 37-yard pass interference call, then an unnecessary roughness call the next play and finally a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct on third down, giving the Panthers another chance to convert, which they did tying the game up at 17-17 in the third quarter. The Panthers went on the win the game in the forth quarter, 27-20.
I for one have no problem with Smith being on this list. Football isn’t a friendly game and you always need someone on that team that is confident, has some swagger and even a bit of a mean streak, and we all know Smith isn’t short on any of those qualities.
SI polled 287 players for this list and here is the list in full:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison
2. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis
3. Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh
4. Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour
5. Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito
6. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs
7. St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Harvey Dahl
8. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward
9. Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry
10. New Orleans Saints center Olin Kreutz
11. Minnesotta Vikings defensive end Jared Allen
12. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith
13. Detriot Lions running back Jerome Harrison
14. Tennesse Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan
15. Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman