WR drops grudge against team
Smith believed the Panthers called him a "marginal receiver" in explaining why signing him to a long-term extension would have to wait until after a deal with defensive tackle Kris Jenkins was completed.
Smith called the comment "a spit in my face" in a brief tirade Thursday. Derrick Fox, his agent, later said the Panthers actually called him "unproven."
Smith just wanted to drop the whole thing by Friday.
"I shouldn't have said anything," Smith said as he left the practice field. "I shouldn't have made it personal. This game isn't personal. I should have just kept my mouth closed."
Smith, who leads the team in catches (12) and yards receiving (118) this season, is due to become a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
Things had been moving along quite well for the Panthers, until now.
While building a 3-0 start to the season, management had also settled long-running contract negotiations with punter Todd Sauerbrun and signed Jenkins to a five-year, $31 million extension this week.
Then Smith rocked the boat before Sunday's NFC South game against the New Orleans Saints.
But Smith said he didn't think he had created a distraction for the team.
"It won't become a distraction because it's over and done with," he said. "Yesterday was yesterday, that's the best part. Today's a new day."
The Panthers did not comment Friday on Smith, who went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year as a kick returner and led Carolina with 872 yards receiving last season.
They have shown commitment to him in the past, not cutting him despite public pressure to do so after he beat up a teammate in a film session last year. Instead, Smith was suspended for one game and sought help controlling his temper.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press