Steve Smith apologized to the Carolina Panthers during a team meeting Sunday evening, in Spartanburg. Though he declined comment through the team, he did however conduct an interview with Pro Football Weekly earlier that day. The receiver claimed to feel terrible, and seemed to want everyone to know the depths of his remorse, and ” how, in five or six seconds, five or six years has come crashing down.” Smith also conveyed to PFW that he recognizes these are the consequences to be paid, and that he is determined not to be defined by this one incident.
Apparently there had been a little back-and-forth between Smith and starting cornerback Ken Lucas on the last play, before the sideline brawl. Smith told PFW that words were exchanged, the situation escalated from there, and he simply lost his cool.
The receiver has been suspended for the first two games of the season, and no suspension has been reported for Ken Lucas. While Lucas did not participate in the scrimmage held Saturday morning at the stadium, he did surprise his teammates with a visit in the locker room prior to the practice.
According to quarterback Jake Delhomme, every player greeted and shook hands with Lucas, and Delhomme clearly felt that the visit showed character on the cornerback’s part. Possibly coupled with Smith’s earnest apology, it may have confirmed and maintained the unity of the locker room.