After playing 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, star wide receiver Steve Smith felt like he didn’t get the explanation he deserved from general manager Dave Gettleman when he let him go earlier this year.
That’s why the veteran wideout, now with the Baltimore Ravens, admits that his two-touchdown performance against his former team last Sunday was every bit as personal as the media might have thought it was.
Smith said as much during a scathing rant against the Panthers as a guest on Charlotte radio station WFNZ on Wednesday.
"Yes, it was personal with me and Dave Gettleman," Smith said over the radio, as reported by ESPN. "Obviously, I did something that got under his skin."
Smith alleged that he heard about being released, and was never confronted with the rumor, which panned out to be true, from Gettleman.
"He doesn't even have the cojones to tell us to our face," Smith said. "We have to hear it from someone else. Then he calls and says, like everyone else says, 'It wasn't personal.'
"If the first thing that comes out is, 'It wasn't personal' ... Guess what? It was personal,” he added. “Then he says that [I] could have called at any time. And now that I played well, you're going to say I was a distraction, I've always been a distraction.”
Smith then proceeded to take a subliminal shot at former teammate and Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy for being found guilty of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend in July.
“But yet, I didn't beat my wife. Yeah, I hit some teammates six or seven years ago, but I didn't beat my wife,” Smith continued. “I didn't get arrested for DUIs. I didn't fall off no motorcycles. I made mistakes, but building this big old crutch about it as if I pushed their hands."
Smith even blasted Panthers coach Ron Rivera for seeking out the veteran receiver after the Ravens’ 38-10 victory over the Panthers last Sunday. Smith was upset by the gesture because he claims Rivera never once sat him down to talk to him man-to-man about the Panthers releasing him and allegedly only texted him, “Sorry,” after the transaction was completed.
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(Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)