Now that Baltimore's demolition of the Panthers is finished, receiver Steve Smith was finally able to speak his mind on his perception of how his tenure ended in Carolina.
And assuming it's an accurate depiction, Smith makes general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera look like even bigger idiots for releasing him this offseason.
Appearing on the radio show Bustin' Loose on WFNZ 610 AM The Fan in Charlotte, Smith, irked by a recent report he read, came out firing at the Gettleman-Rivera duo. Smith started talking about what it was like in March, while in Salt Lake City on an academic scholarship at the University of Utah, when he first began hearing trade and release rumors through friends and social media.
Reports began to surface that Smith was a nuisance in the locker room and that the Panthers were moving on no matter what. By the time Smith met with Gettleman, the two engage in a not-so-pretty conversation.
"He tells me, basically, that I'm a shadow of the player I used to be," Smith said on-air. "I can't run and jump like I used to. I'm jealous of Cam [Newton]. And I say, 'Is this about a pay cut?' He laughs and says, 'No, it's not about a pay cut. But thanks for asking.' And then says, 'We're going to trade you.' And I say, 'Well my wife's pregnant, what happens if I don't get traded?' He said, 'We'll cross that bridge when we get there.' So we go through that process. I pick up myself and walk out, shower, call my wife and say, 'We're done here. I'll either be traded or released.'"
Smith also hated the fact that a narrative was written that he craved attention and didn't like that Newton was in the spotlight. In his mind, he just wanted to line up and play football with the Panthers.
"I want to win championships," he said.
He was asked if it was personal with Gettleman.
"It was personal with me and Dave Gettleman," Smith said. "Obviously I did something that got under his skin. And you know what? I'm not a perfect person. There are people I run into that get under my skin."
Smith also refuted a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, which cited a team source, stating that the veteran receiver asked for his release. He said it was an inaccurate report and that it was likely leaked by the Panthers to "justify why I'm not here."
Smith also took a shot at other Panthers players — namely defensive end Greg Hardy — that the organization has stuck with that carry some off-field baggage.
"Now that I play well you’re going to try and say that I’m a distraction ... I’ve always been a distraction, but I didn’t beat my wife," Smith said. "Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago but I never beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles."
Of course, after playing the season-opener, Hardy was placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list and will be there until his domestic violence legal issue resolves.
During the Ravens' 38-10 rout over the Panthers, Smith had this moment that was caught on camera:
Smith said he was "stabbed in the back" by the organization, though he still holds the utmost respect for owner Jerry Richardson. While Smith was done wrong by the Panthers, the Ravens have become primary beneficiaries of an utterly stupid move by the folks running the show in Carolina.