Steve Smith unloads on Panthers G.M., coach, Greg Hardy

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The blood and guts arrived a few days later than many expected.

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith mostly played nice as his new team beat his old one Sunday. But he unloaded on his old bosses Wednesday, taking shots at both General Manager Dave Gettleman (who we knew he didn’t like) and coach Ron Rivera (who we didn’t suspect created that kind of animosity).

Smith called in to WFNZ’s “Bustin’ Loose” with Frank Garcia and Mark Yarbro, and fired several volleys in the direction of the team he gave 13 years to, saying neither Gettleman nor Rivera were straight with him.

“Every time I keep reading stuff and reports come out, I just think I was stabbed in the back,” Smith said. “Just like coach Rivera said he wasn’t a sore loser, but yet he never even spoke to me through the whole ordeal. Not one time. He didn’t look at me man-to-man and said this was going down. He said he’s a players’ coach but he never came in and said, ‘Hey Smitty, this is going on. Wanted to give you a heads up.’ He hid in his office.

“Then you come at the end of the game and I play decent and then you come and shake my hand and say, ‘Congratulations. I hope the family’s well. Good luck.’ But we were supposed to be boys and respected me. You would have done it from the jump. You don’t do it at the end. And then you tell the media. Why? So you can look a certain way.”

That was a little surprising, less so was his criticism of Gettleman, who got the ball rolling at the Combine by saying he was “evaluating,” Smith’s play, and then came home to tell Smith he was gone.

Smith said Wednesday that Gettleman referred to him as a “shadow” of his former self.

“He doesn’t even have the cojones to tell us to our face [about being released],” Smith said. “We have to hear it from someone else. Then he calls and says it wasn’t personal. If the first thing that comes out is ‘Well it wasn’t personal,’ then guess what? It was personal.”

Smith also made it clear he wasn’t happy with being portrayed as a distraction, pointing to the team’s willingness to hang onto defensive end Greg Hardy with a $13.1 million franchise tag. He referenced the three teammates he punched, but said that was not comparable to the current situation.

“I’ve always been a distraction?” Smith said. “But I didn’t hit my wife. Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago but I didn’t beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles. …

“All I did was charity work in Charlotte. I made mistakes. But building this big ol’ crutch about it like as if I pushed their hand?”

The reasons the Panthers cut Smith have been obvious. He didn’t play well with others, specifically quarterback Cam Newton.

But his frustration on the way out the door speaks to tensions with Gettleman that indicate there was more than one personality at play in the decision that sent him to Baltimore.

111 responses to “Steve Smith unloads on Panthers G.M., coach, Greg Hardy

  1. We all know it was obvious that Gettleman had issues with Smith and maybe it was personal………but Smith…….it’s time to move on!!! ICE UP SON!!!!!

  2. Steve Smith may not be congenial, humble, gracious or classy and he may be a rat as a teammate, but, apparently his behind can still cash the checks his mouth keeps writing.

  3. Steve Smith is the pound for pound baddest dude in the NFL.

    Carolina was dumb for forcing him out.
    Dumber for not investing in an OL for Cam
    Dumbest for hanging onto injured bums in the back field.

    I hope Steve sticks it to them for another 2-4 years.

    Not to mention, Carolina has one of the weakest fan bases i’ve ever seen. #noheart from the front office to the 700 level

  4. It is easy to see why he is a good fit in Baltimore……low moral character and bit of a whiner. Give him some respect for his play so far, but waiting for that bump in the road where his true character shows up.

  5. He’s clearly in a better situation now. Panthers are in a major downswing. Smith’s comments could spell hot seat for Rivera if Carolina continues to go down this road

  6. Great thing about sports debates – the scoreboard and standings settle everything. From what I have seen, our new favorite receiver wins, and the Panthers organization has a ways to go…

  7. Smith has always played/felt the need to keep a chip on his shoulder. Just the way he is. When the Panthers cut him, did anyone honestly believe it was a mistake? He was an about to be 35 yr old receiver coming off near career lows wanting a new contract,and they just spent a 1st rd pick on his replacement. Don’t blame either side in this. Carolina was just in letting him go, and Smith is just in using it as motivation.

  8. Smith’s right. Real men don’t treat men the way he was treated by Rivera and Gettleman. Smith’s one of the straightest shooters I’ve ever followed in the NFL. He has his rough edges, granted, but he’s worked to improve those.

    As for Cam not working well with him, that’s because Smith tried to help him grow as a man, as a leader, and as a player. Without Smith around to kick his ass, I don’t see Newton ever being much more than a clothes hound who when not injured can put up some pretty decent individual statistics.

    The Cats made a huge mistake in letting Smith go… and with each coming loss that mistake is going to be more and more obvious to us long-suffering Panther fans.

  9. It’s a long season. Smith may feel mighty right now– Let’s see if that 35 year-old body can cash-out on those comments…

    I wonder when Smith will realize he’s in a business?

  10. As a long time panthers fan, I hate to admit something. I think it was Okay to let Steve go. He wasn’t playing like this last year, or the year before that. He’s playing at such a high level because he’s re-energized. He’s 35, a lot of guys move on at that point, would I liked to have seen him retire a Panther yes, is he my favorite player ever? Yes. But for him to sit and bad mouth the franchise isnt doing him any justice. If he’d have stayed here this year he’s already admitted it’d have been his last. Go out doing what you do Steve, we’re rooting for you no matter what.

  11. Steve Smith was cut because Cam Newton doesn’t have half the sack Smith does, and subsequently couldn’t lead without the organization intervening between their delicate QB and a strong personality.

    Nice to see how well that worked out for them this past weekend.

  12. I love how players who get paid a ton of money want to be treated when they are released. If an unrestricted free agent chooses to go elsewhere, sign a big contract, should he walk into his former teams’ headquarters, meet with the coach and GM and tell them it’s not personal?

  13. “Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago…”

    I bust out laughing right there. And I’m sure he wasn’t even trying to be funny.

  14. Hard to like the guy when he is always bumping his gums and whining about something. The Panthers paid him MILLIONS. Why the bitterness.

    Some athletes are mental children.

  15. not sure what Steve is pissed off about? he is mad he didn’t tell him man to man…um, he brought you in his office and told you he thought you were a shell of yourself and that he was going to trade you. that’s a pretty man to man conversation if you ask me. he straight up told you exactly what he was going to do, and then did it.

    I understand he’s upset he got released but playing the “he don’t have the cojones to tell me face to face” is a lie. He told you to your face, you just didn’t agree.

    grow up Steve. your starting to sound like a scorned ex-girlfriend.

  16. right now steve smith has the upper hand. i don’t think anyone would argue flacco is better than newton, ozzie is better than gettleman or harbaugh is better than rivera.

    lotsa football left this yr. we shall see.

  17. Ravens fan here – Smith’s performance in Baltimore is impressive but this storyline is getting old. He needs to button it and focus on his current team.

  18. Steve Smith is a straight up BALLER! in four games he has more multi td games with #5 than 3 years with Cam, put a towel over me cause I’m done, Newton.

  19. great wide receiver… but an even bigger pain in the ass.

    I would rather lose with class and dignity than win and be a brash, loudmouth jack wagon…

    But that’s just me.

  20. Something tells Smith’s unloading on the Panthers wasn’t set in stone. If he sucked when he played against them, he would have kept his mouth shut. We wouldn’t have heard a peep from him on this matter, just like we haven’t through three other games.

    And this man wants to talk facing somebody man to man?

  21. I wonder if Steve Smith will speak to the media with humility as the season wears on and his inevitable decline progresses? Long season, even longer for those on the plus side of 35.

  22. ok, we get it. they cut you and you didn’t like it. how long do we have to hear about this. he’s not the first player to ever get cut by a team. i can’t imagine what any ex girlfriend this guy may have has to go through. let it go man. GET OVER IT. move on.

  23. Steve Smith can do the next NFL PSA to follow up on the “No More” domestic violence PSA with various B and C list celebrities that ran this past weekend

    Just look into the camera and let this roll 🙂

    “I didn’t hit my wife. Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago but I didn’t beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles. …”

    No More dissing Steve Smith!

  24. anyone saying move on is missing the point. i was listening to his character being attacked for almost 2 hrs straight on the same station before he finally called in to set the record straight. there are not out the blue comments. obviously he still lives in Charlotte and got tired of hearing what he sees as inaccuracies being reported. he even mentioned that he found out about his own release on the station, so he listens all the time.

  25. the stinger is still there inside of steve. hence, it comes out whenever it has a chance or being questioned.
    just shut up and move on steve.

  26. “I’ve always been a distraction?” Smith said. “But I didn’t hit my wife. Yeah I hit some teammates six or seven years ago but I didn’t beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles. …
    I love this guy and I wish he was on my Bills team cause as myeaglescantwin said….pound for pound the baddest dude in the NFL…..

  27. Smith cracks me up, I’ve always liked him. I also can’t shake the feeling that sitting with him and watching game film would be endlessly entertaining.

  28. “The reasons the Panthers cut Smith have been obvious. He didn’t play well with others, specifically quarterback Cam Newton.”
    Bee Ess. That is media created bull. Smith was a 34 year old family man with kids near Cam’s age and he’s supposed to be buddy-buddy with him? No, I call BS. Smith left for two reasons:1)Gettleman didn’t like his strong personality and 2)apparently Rivera did not fight well enough to convince Gettleman.

    I criticized Smitty for his in-team violence, but he was treated wrong and I’m glad he let loose a little. The way things are going, by the time he retires, neither Rivera nor Gettleman will be in Charlotte, so he can just let it all out.

    There is a book in there somewhere.Steve just wants to make sure he doesn’t crash his post football career. But I expect him to really go after Gettleman in time.

  29. As long as he was mentioning Hardy’s motorcycle accident, why didn’t he mention Hardy’s pic of his Bentley going 100 mph on Charlotte city streets? Everybody around here knows Hardy has a screw loose(although I still think Hardy will be quickly acquitted at his jury trial, for lack of evidence).

    Anyway, I think Smith was owed being told of his release by Panthers personnel instead of a local radio station. And it’s OK for him to discuss this in the early part of the week, since the Panthers-Ravens game was this past Sunday. Now, I expect Smitty will turn the page and not talk about the Panthers anymore. I’ll always be a fan of his. He plays his heart out, he’s still a useful player and he tells it like it is. I hope he makes the Pro Bowl.

  30. The comments may have been ill-advised, but it’s nice to see some honesty and not the standard dog-and-pony-show crap most players spew in these situations.

    Besides that, he’s right.

  31. fordman, you’re right. I was just about to say that this guy has anger issues, and it’s going to be interesting how his journey in the real world goes once he’s irrelevant as a football player.

    Always someone else’s fault.

  32. Love the hypocrisy of NFL fans and media.

    Guys like Smith, Richard Sherman, etc. that tell it like it is get all kinds of grief for being loud-mouths.

    What else do you want? How boring would this game be without some personalities coming out of guys who also aren’t career criminals off the field?

  33. Gettleman has blown up a 12-4 team last year… and for what? He failed to get Cam any O-line this year after forcing Gross and Wharton to retire (and it’s getting Cam killed), he tagged Hardy which was a stupid decision even without knowing about the incident, he brought in freakin’ Harper who is getting burnt every play, and last but not least, he released the all time panther player who he is still paying to play on another team. What is his plan exactly?

  34. He should go back and watch how his TD plays developed. I don’t think bragging after getting some lucky bounces is such a good idea.

  35. He’s bitter and a hothead. Yes, he was a good player but he was also a distraction and his ability is declining. He also does not seem to understand what the word respect means. When it comes down to playing time or on-field issues, the coaches will talk to the players one-on-one. When it comes to tags or cut vs. restructures I would guess that it is almost always done through the agent until a decision is made. What exactly is he mad at? Teams evaluate every player and compare potential options all the time. Why does he think he is so special as to be immune?

  36. Funny the way he said “I hit some teammates six or seven years ago” like that means absolutely nothing. I hate that he is gone, but that did give me a little chuckle. Most players would have been shown the door then…

  37. I agree! The Panthers act like they don’t even know you after parting ways.

    Rae Carruth

  38. He reminds me of the angry kid in high school. That you were scared of but still tried to be friends with so he didn’t kick your ass.

  39. Just shut-up ALREADY!! Where is the maturity this fool said he discovered a few months ago?!? I knew it was BS! Just shut your mouth & TRY to be a leader at age 35! I would LOVE to see this fool’s GPA from college!

  40. It’s a business. Pure and simple. If you don’t accept that completely on your very first day in the league, then you’re going to be eventually be hurt and bitter like Smith is now. The front office only cares about cap figures and the bottom line. If Smith ever saw them as anything beyond the name at the bottom of his checks he was making a huge mistake.

  41. For all the people saying “Smith, shut up already” :

    You’re on a sports gossip blog, reading about a football player who is being repeatedly asked about his old team because it’s the the most entertaining thing in today’s 24hour news cycle.

    Steve Smith would likely tell you to “get back to work (son)”.

    Seriously – reflect on your life for a moment and walk away from the keyboard if needed.

  42. Of course he had problem with diva Cam. I would have problems with a “man” who dresses in capris and can’t get his ankle to heel cause he keeps tripping in his high heels. And that lame superman thing. Yeah it was the sixtys and superman wore tights and a cape but he dam well didn’t wear capris and high heels. You go Steve, your production shows the weak link in Carolina and it wasn’t Smith or any of the receivers or any of the running backs. It has to do with Newton who thinks way too much of himself and dresses like a cast off from Ru Paul’s drag race. Steve Smith scored but Baltimore’s defense beat Newton with 1 good corner, a safety playing nickel and a defensive line that is playing people it picked up two weeks ago. That isn’t Smith, that was Newton being a lousy qb.

  43. He’s right because talent does not always mean you stay with your team.

    If I’m wrong go ask Marlin Briscoe after his only season in Denver.

    Also, go ask the HOFers that played for at least 4 teams.

  44. playing football the way steve smith has for his long career, having more heart than any other player on his team, never took a play off, he provided an example of hard work and serious dedication to his craft. and for that, he felt he was owed a face to face as a courtesy for his work. not a week before to say we are trying to trade you.. that’s lame by the g.m. and the coach.

    he had the impression that he had already gotten past the fights with teammates (and no carolina fan was saying get rid of him when they were headed to the super bowl), he felt the next decade outweighed those instances. and i’m sure the team did too by resigning him.

    and if you know this cat for 13 yrs and don’t understand that contacting smitty prior to leaking the information to the radio station is low class, you are too dumb to be a g.m.

  45. Pro Steve Smith here. Probably the only player’s jersey I’d wear that isn’t a Cowboy.

    Whoever is responsible, that orginization missed out. He’s still got a few good years in him.

  46. I can just see the Ravens players tiptoeing around the locker room,hurrying to shower and get dressed,praying that on this day Steve Smith Sr. doesn’t hit them in the jaw.
    “excuse Mr. Smith Sr.”
    “i’m sorry Mr. Smith Sr.”

    Go Panthers

  47. Look, I love Smitty.

    But you can’t talk about being “a man” after you’ve SUCKER -PUNCHED two teammates.

    I’ve lived in Charlotte for 15 years.

    And followed Smitty closely.

    Move on, Steve.

  48. Smith has always been and arrogant, conceited – terd. He’s a scrappy player for sure but a big – time little DIVA bitch!

  49. eventually raven fans will get to the point most panther fans have been at for years. when smitty is talking he’s not saying anything except “i’m mad and i feel disrespected” it’s his mantra

  50. So the Panthers’ personnel didn’t meet Smith expectations. Despite how much each organization considers itself a family, it’s a business, Steve. You don’t get a heads up during negotiations, that’s your agents job.

    He just sounds like an ungrateful crybaby at this point.

  51. crownofthehelmet says: Oct 1, 2014 4:46 PM

    He should go back and watch how his TD plays developed. I don’t think bragging after getting some lucky bounces is such a good idea.

    Oh you mean like the immaculate reception?

  52. Even though #89 is a Raven now, I will always consider him a Carolina Panther and I’ve spent countless Sunday’s watching him wreck the Falcon Secondary. As a Falcons fan, I’ve always had nothing but respect and admiration for the way the guy has carried himself during his career. I know he got into it with some teammates but let’s be honest for a minute. We’re talking about a league where players are killing teammates in car accidents, killing civilians while drunk (although dude shouldn’t have been on the highway), felony gun possession, felony drug possession (by a DAMN OWNER!), double and potentially triple homicide…. and we’re mad because this dude talked some crap, in retrospect, about his former bosses who did just throw him to the curb.

    They always say this is a business, and I know that many of us feel no sympathy since he’s a millionaire. A lot of us fans who post comments work in business. I can’t speak for anyone else, but if my manager and director both went behind my back and fired me for perceived dips in performance that have obviously been misjudged, I’d be airing out some dirty laundry too. Let’s keep that in mind as we blast this guy for answering questions facilitated by the media.

  53. What a baby. People all over this country have gotten laid off from their jobs, tenure or no tenure. U think they harassed n whined?

    You got released cuz u prob were a distraction n now u r for two teams.

    Ice up Son.

  54. Really Steve you want to them to run that business like a family, cmon you obviously did not take them to a Super Bowl. Plus you get paid millions and want to act like you are playing for free…grow up. Nothing personal…just business. Now go make millions elsewhere….sheesh…

  55. he was one of the most underrated players in the league, with hall of fame talent, and I think his success in Baltimore says more about the qb Cam Newton is than anything else. He thrived with Jake Delhomme for crying out loud.

  56. Again PFT has only reported part of the story…….Smitty also said that he appreciated the fact that Rivera sought him out after the game last week and congratulated him for his performance. Smith said he appreciated it…..Cam Newton was quoted today be saying that he had no animosity towards Smith and that he really wished he was here. PFT has started to venture into ESPN territory by only releasing half the story….. Smith’s anger is mostly directed at Gettleman, especially since Smitty found out via WFNZ radio that he had been released instead of the front office telling him. Smith may have had some temper issues in the past, but he bled Panther blue. He is a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. He was not a cancer on his team such as Owens, Chad Johnson, or those other divas were. Just look at games where he would peel back and take on a defender while blocking for a running back. He was the heart of this offense, which sadly has not been replaced. If you are going to report on a story, get it right!

  57. …you keep that CHIP ON your shoulder Steve. Your playing well for my FF team. Don’t go belly up on me now that you have your revenge WK4 against the panthers. Because really, i don’t CARE about all the NFL drama this year….including your own Steve. I JUST WANT TO WATCH GOOD football and WIN my fantasy football games ! I AM THE CONSUMER OF NFL FOOTBALL and you ALL work for ME !!!

  58. The real reason Steve Smith was released: Hurney had him set to make STUPID money. Incrementally more as he aged. It was one of the many bad deals Hurney made and everyone knows Smitty isn’t going to take a pay cut. He is an amazing player and we could absolutely use him this year but in the long run this is best for the team…especially seeing KB13’s emergence as a BEAST.

  59. If you continue to talk about the ex and complain about the ex, you are not over the ex….if I was a ravens fan, I would feel like the new girlfriend….disrespected….focus on the new team Steve.

  60. Steve Smith needs to get over it. He’s with a different organization that’s actually winning now. Why not look ahead instead of dwelling on the past? Next thing we’ll hear him gripe about is why he’s not seriously considered a Hall of Fame candidate.

  61. Gettleman is not a people person. He is doomed to fail. I’m not sure where most of you work, but if you worked 13 years for any business and were fired this way and think it’s OK, no wonder wages have been stagnant for 20 years in America.

    A 13 day employee deserves to be talked to with respect.

  62. Same big time baller, different jersey, same PoS. Steve Smith claiming the moral high ground is like a dog trying to cook an omelet, a pretty funny joke.

  63. I wish Gettleman would have told him before when he was a Panther that he was a shadow of himself and had him come out and play like he used too but oh no he goes to Baltimore and does it instead of with the Panthers his team.

    The way Steve played this past week he has not played like that for years with the Panthers. Besides he talked of leaving 3-4 years ago but when Rivera was hired he talked Steve into staying.

    Media says all kinds of things and Smitty is well aware of that. He needs to stop crying now its been going on for months now. Going on interviews on tv about his life and then interviews with the Pastor from Elevation Church all because of what? he wants the Panthers to take him back?? I do not get it. Isn’t this similar to what T.O did when he was let go? –demanding media attention.

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