Steve Smith: “I am not happy that we are losing. What I am really trying to do is keep my mouth closed.”
This shouldn’t come as a shock to NFL fans, but the Carolina Panthers weren’t expected to do much this season, barely even compete in my opinion. Throughout the league the organization was under heavy fire for selecting Cam Newton number one overall in late April with analysts speculating this move could set the organization back another five years if he didn’t pan out. It’s still early in the 2011 campaign, but the rookie quarterback has turned some heads. The Panthers may be 1-3, but they have lost three games here by seven points or less against Arizona, Green Bay and Chicago. Steve Smith has always made his opinions well known when he is not happy about something in Carolina. It’s been a surprise to have Smith stay relatively quiet so far about the play of the Panthers, but the stud wide receiver has broken his silence and would like to set the record straight.
Steve Smith joined WFNZ in Charlotte on The Drive with Taylor Zarzour and Marc James to discuss keeping his emotions in check after the Carolina Panthers loss to the Chicago Bears, not being happy about the Carolina Panthers losing football games, being fired up about what he sees from Cam Newton, being an effective receiver at his age and the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Editor’s note: Steve Smith calls in during a segment where the hosts are talking about the Panthers loss to the Bears:
“Let me just get something straight…I am not excited or happy that we are losing. Yeah the stats are great, but don’t get it twisted now I am not ecstatic and all that stuff. I am happy we have some key players in the position that are helping us. The quarterback with Cam Newton. He is an exceptional leader. This is the leadership we need at quarterback, but I am not all giddy and all that stuff. The thing is the last couple of years I wore my emotions on my sleeve. This backfired and made me come across and actually be seen as a disruptor, a ‘cancer’ in the locker room, so what I am really trying to do is keep my mouth closed. Keep my opinion, which is negative, to myself and go about my business and be encouraging to my teammates because I am a leader despite what people may think or what their opinion is and kind of just play ball and hopefully try to contribute on the positive aspect and help us win more than one game.”
I’m the one defending you. You are the one who is not happy about the results on the scoreboard at the end of the game despite what fans are emailing to us:
“It bugs me, but if all I am going to do is rant and rave and go up the sidelines what is that going to do for us? Is that going to put points on the board? It’s not going to put points on the board. It’ll get my blood pressure up and the media is on me and the camera is on me then I look like a fool. I’m sitting there foaming at the mouth. It’s pointless man. I’m just trying to be mature and grow up. My teammates voted me as a captain and that’s what I am trying to do and be a quiet leader instead of letting plays speak about it.”
You have to be fired up with what you see from Cam Newton? You gotta think the future is very bright?
“The future does look bright. The only thing as a player being myself and my age I just hope I get the opportunity when things are clicking on all cylinders. When all 3 phases are looking outstanding that I have an opportunity to be in the league still and be a part of this organization when that times comes.”
Clearly it looks like you have a lot left in the tank?
“Oh yeah. I am not even going to go there I am just…opinions. Everyone has one or two.”
Who’s the best wide receiver in the NFL?
“Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. That’s easy.”
Who’s the second best wide receiver in the NFL?
“Wes Welker. [Hosts: No come on! Get out of here!] Man Wes Welker is ballin. [Hosts: You are killing it out there!] Here’s the thing: People expect me to say me. At the end of the day I am just happy to be playing and statistics will say it, but this is my first year playing as a 32-year old as an 11-year veteran and hopefully I’ll get more years to play, but man I am just taking it one day at a time and enjoying my time with all the other stuff. All I can say to people is if you don’t like it [him celebrating after a catch] then get over it cause I have.”