After Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins tried to get in Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith’s head by injecting some personal commentary into their on-field duel, Smith turned it back on him.
So when Smith squared off against rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant last week, what nefarious tactic of mental warfare did Smith employ?
He made it clear to Trufant he admired the way he and his family did their work.
“I told him early in the game that I respected his brothers and I respected him,” Smith said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “The Trufants are always good. You can tell [Desmond’s] brothers have taught him a lot of stuff. He’s patient. Getting in and out of breaks, he’s very fluid.
“When you have an opportunity like that with your brothers, I think that’s pretty cool. I don’t care how old you are, what your statistics are or all that type of stuff, that’s always really cool that you have your family’s legacy and you’re part of that and you’re seeing it unfold.”
The Falcons rookie appreciated the kind words for himself and his brothers Marcus and Isaiah.
“That’s what the game is all about: respect,” Trufant said. “That’s what we play for. It’s humbling because I’ve been watching him since I was young. He and my brother [Marcus] used to go at it all the time. That’s just very humbling.”
Trufant did have a little on-field dust-up with Panthers wideout Domenik Hixon, but there were no such fireworks as when Jenkins tried to challenge Smith two weeks ago.