Aqib Talib said it never got personal with Steve Smith

AP

After lighting the fuse early on Steve Smith, Aqib Talib wasn’t around at the end.

That provided the Panthers wide receiver a double win — the kind on the scoreboard and the ability to tell Talib on national television to “Ice up, son.”

That’s become a catchphrase in Charlotte already, with restaurant chains picking it up within hours for marketing purposes.

But Talib refused to heat it back up Wednesday, nursing the sore hip that kept him from finishing the game.

Never personal, man. It’s never personal,” Talib said, via Mark Daniels of the Boston Herald. “I’m sure if I see Steve, it’d be, ‘What’s up, how you doing?’ It’s never personal, man. Him and the other guy from St. Louis [cornerback Janoris Jenkins], that was personal. He didn’t say he was going to punch me in my face after the game. He just told me to go get in the tub.”

Jenkins went after Smith at a personal level, making coments about Smith’s wife that made him furious.

Both guys made the same mistake though: They tried to get into Smith’s head, while the 34-year-old wideout was doing the same to them.

Smith’s been taken out of games before, leterally and figuratively, when his anger got the best of him. But it’s been years, and he’s figured out how to use it to his advantage.

Teams, and certain corners, are game-planning his reputation instead of what he’s actually doing, allowing him to bait them into altercations which he has control over.  He did to Jenkins in the Rams game, bowing up to him after one play, then flopping like a Duke basketball player at the first contact, trying to draw a penalty.

Likewise, Talib tugging on Smith’s leg early in the game only served the effect as tugging on Superman’s cape. All it did was get Smith’s attention, which was a mistake others have made.