Biggs: Smith learned well from Muhammad in Carolina

Muhsin Muhammad was never afraid to take some credit for helping bring a young wide receiver in Steve Smith along at the NFL level.

Smith learned well from Muhammad, becoming a Pro Bowl talent for the Carolina Panthers and surpassing his mentor as the go-to target for the offense.

He’s picked up some tricks of the trade when it comes to public relations, too. It was Muhammad, after a 52-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Even in 2000, that found reason to rejoice following the season-ending loss before the cross-country flight home. Muhammad had 10 catches in the game to give him 102 for the season.

“From the ashes and the rubble,’’ Muhammad said. “I guess you could say a flower grew today.’’

Muhammad was also infamous for going out to practice one day with name D-Coy taped on the back of his jersey, a not-so-subtle hint to the coaches about how he felt he was being used in the offense.

So after the Panthers pulled out a 28-21 victory Sunday at Tampa Bay with a two-headed rushing attack of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Smith was none too happy. He had just one catch in the game, a four-yard grab on the game-winning drive.

“It’s bittersweet,” Smith said according to Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald. “We get the win, but I have a limited role. So, obviously, I see this game as showing I’m no longer an asset to this team.”

Leave it to a wide receiver to make himself the life of the postgame party. Asked to expand on that thought, Smith reportedly headed off to the shower.

“That’s all I got,” Smith said. “My name’s Steve Smith and I stand by that.”

Smith has just 21 catches for 259 yards on the season, and he has yet to score.

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