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September 17, 2008

Smith mum about return

Wide receiver Steve Smith didn’t show up in the Panthers locker room today during the 45-minute period when it is open to the media, passing on his first opportunity to discuss his return to the team following his two-week suspension for punching cornerback Ken Lucas during training camp.

Lucas, though, was at his locker, and did plenty of talking, both about the team’s fast start and the incident with Smith.

“It was no surprise to anybody in this locker room,” Lucas said of Carolina's 2-0 beginning. “Going back to training camp, even before the incident, we felt like we had something special. And that incident just made what we had come closer together.

“Now we have a bond as a team I don’t think anyone can break. We really have a lot of confidence going into Minnesota this week."

Lucas went on to compliment the Vikings, but the conversation swung back to the incident. He was asked if the way he handled the problem helped galvanize the team.

“If I said anything different to you right now, then that would make me a liar, right,” he said. “I truly believe that everything I said back whenever the day was, I truly forgave my teammate, my brother.

“I had totally forgot about it and the only time I really talk about it is when somebody brings it up and I try to shoot it down as much as possible because that is something that passed and I don’t want to dwell on it anymore.

“I’m just as happy to have Steve back as anybody in this locker room, because he’s going to help us win a lot of games this year. I feel like the sky’s the limit for us. I told him after the game, ‘I’ll see you on Monday and let’s go get this ring together.’

“I know he’s going to bring out the best in me in practice because I know he’s going to come ready to practice and he’s just so excited to be back…Like I said, I truly forgive him, and I don’t have any regrets about how I handled the situation back in training camp.”

—Stan Olson


Posted by Observer Sports on September 17, 2008 at 03:31 PM | Permalink


Well I forgive smith 2 eventhough he didnt punch me haha but im glad he's back

Posted by: paul | Sep 17, 2008 3:53:30 PM

*sniff*... I love it man. I really do. This team has something about them, I cant really put my finger on it but they are gonna be special this year.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 17, 2008 3:56:46 PM

Truly a Professional!

Posted by: JB | Sep 17, 2008 3:58:26 PM


listen to this awesome steve smith interview some really good stuff. Click on "Listen to pocast" link on page

Posted by: matt | Sep 17, 2008 4:02:13 PM

I really do wish the reporters would get over it. The people involved have and the team has. Steve has paid his dues and has stated he was wrong and regrets he did it; but what I liked about the article was Lucas' comment to Smith:

"lets go get this ring together!"

Hey can I watch?

Posted by: 4Gross | Sep 17, 2008 4:03:08 PM

He has talked, just not to you....


It's always better to talk with Michael Irvin!

Posted by: Skinney | Sep 17, 2008 4:19:39 PM

Stan - any injury updates?

Posted by: donny | Sep 17, 2008 4:37:28 PM

Stan - any injury updates?

Posted by: donny | Sep 17, 2008 4:37:28 PM

Has anyone ever thought of the possibility that these two guys, how are serious competitors, have another incident where they butt heads? It could happen since they could be head to head again and be practicing "all out". I don't think this will happen, and I hope if it does they have cool heads, but they both want to get the best of each other (or any opponent at the line of scrimmage). But, what if?????

Posted by: Paul | Sep 17, 2008 4:44:47 PM

I don't blame Steve for avoiding the media. He knows, as well as everyone in the country that has access to tv or newspapers, what kind of questions he is going to be asked over and over and over again. I would hate to see him serving another suspension for sucker punching a news reporter. Not that I could blame him for that. Let the man go back to work. Let it be.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 17, 2008 6:17:20 PM

This is a really great article. It's kind of weird how the team reacted. To put it in a strange way: The rock em sock em robot episode with Steve Smith and Ken Lucas might have just been the best thing that happened to the team. I look forward to Steve Smith pulling a Jerry Rice all over the Vikings defence which ranked last in the league last week.

And now here is the injury report as of Wednesday evening: Did Not participate: Tyler Brayton (ankle). Na'il Diggs (shoulder), Chris Gamble (arm), Matt Moore (leg) and Travelle Wharton (knee). Limited participation - Richard Marshall (leg) and Ryne Robinson (knee).

I sure hope we get Wharton back soon. I'm not in a rush though, his replacement is solid. Same for Diggs, though I don't think his injury is so severe that it'll keep him out of a game. Ditto for Gamble as well.

Posted by: Revshawn | Sep 17, 2008 6:57:19 PM

It is time you and the rest of the local reporters let this story die. The team has moved on it is long past time for you to do so as well.

Posted by: Pat | Sep 17, 2008 6:57:45 PM

I'm curious about something that maybe the writers here can answer. It's no secret Steve Smith doesn't exactly have the best relationship with the media. That "rockiness" if you will, existed even prior to the "Lucas Incident." But I've always wondered how it got that way?

For example, Steve often accuses the media of making more out of something than is really there. Either they don't take the time to learn or understand the full reasons for why things are they way they are...or they manufacture or magnify stories in order to sell or entertain. Or Steve just perceives that they write stories about him that winds up casting him in an unfair light that alters public opinion about him.

Now I'm not saying I believe Smith 100% with regards to those assertions. But I do believe the media can hype and hound things. A continued revisitaton of the "Lucas Incident" is almost a given...not because there's anything left to the story to tell...but rather, because any small piece of information will give it legs for another news cycle to sell papers or magazines or air-time.

So, for those writers who blog here for the Observer, how rocky do you perceive Steve Smith's relationship to be with the local media? Why? How'd it get that way? And do you ever go into writing another story about something like the "Lucas Incident" saying to yourselves that you wish you could write about something else instead? And if so, why don't you?

Just curious,

Posted by: NSpicer | Sep 17, 2008 7:07:40 PM

Thanks for that link...just heard it.

In an earlier post (before I heard this interview) I posted this:

"Here's my concern with Steve...
Am I elated that the Panthers are 2-0, yes!

However, they have proven it can be done without their best offensive weapon. Now, it comes down to Steve's attitude, mindset, and tenacity this weekend. Knowing what we all know, including Steve, we won without him. That can go 2 ways...he can be excited and play at the top of his game or come in with less of an edge and expect others to "bail" him out if he doesn't bring it. I don't think he is the kind of player to wait for others to make plays, but it's been proven now...something that hasn't been done before. Even with the year he broke his leg at the Monday night opener with GB, I think 04, the team did not perform well in his absence. So..he came back with something to prove. I just hope that this year's success so far doesn't put a sense of non urgency or an idea in his mind that he doesn't have to make huge plays for the panthers to win. I don't think it will, but it is a concern because we all know that a high percentage of football is mental. Just something to watch out for. I hope I'm wrong! Just something to watch out for."

Well, I think his interview solidified my concern.... In particular, this is what Smitty had to say, quote: "this is the first time in my career I don't feel no pressure. I don't have to make no plays. They can win without me anyway. So why do I have to go out and do anything extra. I just fall in line, kinda do my deal, make a play or two, go home, hopefully another win, and we move on from there. I never had that opportunity to feel that way."

However, I believe the team, coaches, and fans expect and want Steve to make big plays. That is all he has known and I just hope that this new mindset does not diminish our chances. Playing with a chip on your shoulder and with something to prove usually increases your chances of success. I hope this is not a new Steve Smith we will have to watch Sunday after Sunday. I, frankly, want him to think he HAS to make big plays and prove people wrong. Tell me this incident has not broken his spirit.

Then again, he could also be saying this to just ensure the rest of his teammates don't relax their intensity and just stand by to watch him or wait for him to seal the game. Time will tell. I hope we see the old Smitty on the field!


Posted by: Carolina Wild | Sep 17, 2008 7:43:14 PM

Like it was said when the incident took place.....you can take the thug out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the thug. Steve Smith is a thug hiding behind a cloak of Christianity and charity. The Panthers will rue the day they didn't trade him after this camp fight happened. Smith will show his ass before the Panthers ever win any ring. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

Posted by: Phil | Sep 17, 2008 7:49:54 PM

Maybe "Smitty" is still pondering a 2,000 yard season. Hope he breaks a leg!

Posted by: mike nelson | Sep 17, 2008 7:55:47 PM

The only thing I heard was a condesending attitude and butchering on The King's English.

He said he let his emotions overflow a little bit...come on Steve, grow up and say take FULL responsibility. Tell us you were totally wrong and as a second time offender understand why so many folks are upset. You act like YOU are the victim.

And to all of a sudden say Anthony Bright took a swing at you. Hum.....why did the police bring charges? Sounds to me like that would have been self defense. You just do not get it. And most fans are so enamored with your abilities they fail to see you really have a problem.

It is sad...you just do not get it. But I can see why you would turn to a felon for your fisrt interview. Birds of a feather, flock together.

Posted by: Carl Leazer | Sep 17, 2008 8:10:46 PM

The last 3 posters on here are morons. I grew up in an upper-middle class family and I got into fights all the time. It had nothing to do with being a "thug". Guys fight. If you don't then you probably are not producing enough testosterone. And I am willing to bet your wife runs your house. Its high time the "real men" start coming back in this country, and Smith is one of them. How many of the other "thugs" in the NFL get brought up on gun and drug charges every single year? But you want to be all over Smith for throwing a punch? Jesus, at least he is handling things the old school way they should be handled instead of just getting one of his boys to shoot Lucas after practice. Get a life.

Posted by: Steve | Sep 17, 2008 8:35:26 PM

This is an excerpt from Steve Smith's blog on Athletes United for Youth:

"I'm taking this game as a clean slate," Smith wrote. "My teammates gave me a clean slate. I forgave myself. The person I harmed has forgiven me, and now all I have to do is go balls to the wall. Like I said, I'm stress free with a little bit of fire in there to come out and play. Right now, I'm like the Jack in the box. You keep turning and turning and you know its coming but you don't know when. The day I pop out of the box? Sunday, 1 p.m."

If you want the whole article, it's a good read. http://www.carolinagrowl.com/Read.aspx?Story=739

Posted by: Roger | Sep 17, 2008 8:48:21 PM

It's over Stan. STFU and let them move on. I love a debate, any controversy, but this one is done. It happened, it is old news, be a journalist and go for something other than the low hanging fruit.

Posted by: cmo | Sep 17, 2008 8:51:32 PM

Getting in fights all the time does not make one a "man". Sitting down and working out your differences is the civil thing to do. Regretfully, civility has lost it's place in society. God help us all.

Posted by: mike nelson | Sep 17, 2008 9:41:28 PM

Hey Mike Nelson, what if you cannot work out your differences on the football field? Do you go cry to the coach? This is football and not "God help us all in society." Smith has been on notice, so get over it and move on. Some of you guys are killing me and I wish I could punch.......

Posted by: JDK | Sep 17, 2008 10:09:23 PM

Carl, Phil, and Mike - take your BS somewhere else you tools. I can already tell you three were all the last pick in dodgeball. Go cry to your mommies you little b*tch puss*es.....

Posted by: jb | Sep 17, 2008 10:31:21 PM

Guys, we simply wanted to find out how Smith felt about being back. When the best player on the team is gone for two weeks, when he returns, it's news. I'm sorry some of you can't seem to understand that.

Posted by: stan olson | Sep 17, 2008 10:46:26 PM

I am so happy that the Observer has taken the time to rehash this story. With the dearth of actual football news, I really needed to hear the latest about an incident from the preseason. Next week I look forward to breaking news on Rae Carruth.

Posted by: Hash | Sep 17, 2008 10:49:52 PM

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