Panthers great Steve Smith lifts the lid on relationship with Cam Newton

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Steve Smith and Cam Newton
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Steve Smith and Cam Newton /

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has lifted the lid on his turbulent relationship with quarterback Cam Newton.

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has opened up on his relationship with quarterback Cam Newton.

The pair enjoyed a fiery time together before Smith was shipped out by the Carolina Panthers prior to the 2014 season. This was the year where Newton steered his team to an NFC championship and a Super Bowl appearance before eventually falling to a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos.

Smith’s time with Newton had its moments, for good or bad. The pair were often seen jawing at each other on the sideline. But this was something that was evident from the wideout’s perspective throughout a storied career that was up there with the very best.

Steve Smith and Cam Newton had their moments with the Carolina Panthers.

Speaking on The Ringer’s 10 Questions With Kyle Brandt, Smith opened up about his occasional clashes with Newton and claimed that the big age gap between the two played a significant role in their inability to see eye-to-eye for large parts of their time together in Carolina.

"I mean, people don’t want to hear this but, at the same time, I think I was 30-something, 33 years old. When you’re 33 years old, or 10 years older than your teammate…there’s going to be a disconnect because we’re obviously looking at things totally different. I was on a different trajectory or downward spiral for my career. I was going down; he was just starting his, so I think there’s obvious things, but I think people want to pit us against each other. Like, we didn’t get along because of “this,” but it didn’t have anything to do with not getting along. It had to do with – it’s like that Instagram picture that everybody says, “What color’s this dress?” And, depending on how you see things, you can argue over the color….It’s a 10 year age gap so I was just in a different place."

This might be hard to hear from Panthers’ fans, but it shouldn’t come as any real surprise. Smith and Newton were like chalk and cheese when it came to their respective personalities, so it was clear from early on that something had to give.

There were some nice moments with the duo. But it seems like the problems stemming from Smith becoming a little long in the tooth and watching an emerging superstar such as Newton take his limelight was probably hard to take.

Smith went over 1,000-yards receiving during Newton’s first two years in the NFL. However, he only managed 745 yards in the season before he was shipped out, which saw the cracks begin to show.

Both will go down in folklore as two of the greatest Panthers in history. They revolutionized the organization and propelled them into the spotlight in their own way. But Smith did appear confident in Newton perhaps leading the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl if his stay at Foxborough is a long one.

"When Bill Belichick is involved, you don’t hedge your bet. You don’t go against the house because Bill Belichick is the house. And, in most casinos, you can win the day, you can win a few hands, but in the end, the house always wins."

Watching Newton shine in New England is a tough pill to swallow for a Carolina fanbase that worshipped the signal-caller, and in some cases, still do. Some wanted the 2015 NFL MVP to get one more chance to prove his health under the new regime, but they were more than entitled to come in with their own ideas.

This has indirectly put a substantial amount of pressure on head coach Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. It didn’t take long for the doubters to make their feelings known after a poor display from the free-agent signing in Week 2 and the longer Newton shows out for the Patriots, the heavier the burden will become on his replacement.

As for Smith, he continues to shine on television ahead of a possible Pro Football Hall of Fame inclusion when eligible. There have been few competitive receivers before or since. But when the Panthers had to choose between his big ego and the emerging Newton, there was only one winner.

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