Steve Smith said he used some “unchoice words” is delivering a message to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton after he was yanked in the waning moments of the team’s 36-7 beatdown Thursday night at the hands of the New York Giants.
Smith, the unquestioned emotional leader of the team, did not want to see Newton sulking on the bench after throwing his third interception.
So, Smith lit into Newton. Then, he talked about it afterward.
“Right when they pulled him, I found out and I just told him, ‘Come on over here. Pay attention.’ And he didn’t want to,” Smith said, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “And that’s why I said what I said.
“I don’t want to be passive and not do it. Because if I don’t do it or if I am afraid to say something, who will? So yeah, I got into him, I lit into him, because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what’s going on. This is more than about playing football. It’s about becoming a man.”
We’ll see if Smith’s words reached home. The Panthers are hoping they do not find themselves in the same situation again anytime soon. But Newton will be in an adverse situation again soon enough. He needs to handle it differently next time or – at the minimum – Smith will be after him.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune