Friday, July 27, 2012

Panthers' Smith catches questions

Carolina Panther star wideout plans to excite this season
Carolina Panther wide receiver Steve Smith always seems to be misunderstood. People that don’t know him think that he’s got a quick temper, while those that do know him understand his passion for the game. He also doesn’t get as much credit as he should for the way he plays on the field.

There’s a lot more to Steve than his ability on the field, though. He’s a genuinely good person. He serves as a mentor and friend to the boys of the Carolina Panthers Courage House. He visits often to play basketball, video games and assist with homework. He also buys all the guys at the Courage House season tickets every year. That’s only a sample of what Steve is all about.

I wanted to see what he was up as training camp was approaching. Take a look at what one of my favorite football players and I talked about recently.

Anthony: What’s going on, Steve?
Steve: Nothing much.

Anthony: As you know, I thought you did your thing this past season. Give me your thoughts on the past football season.

Steve: Oh yeah, it was real nice. The team did a great job of rallying around Cam (Newton). We accomplished some of the goals that we set at the beginning of the year. But, we still wanted to end the season stronger. We definitely think some things will work out better this season.
Smith chats with D'Angelo Williams and Cam Newton.

Anthony: No doubt. I feel good about Cam. What type of things do you like to do when you’re not running routes, catching balls or doing something related to football?
Steve: You know, play video games, interact with my children, barbecuing and things like that.
Anthony: Oh yeah?
Steve: Yeah.

Anthony: What kind of games do you like to play?
Steve: I’m into the snow boarding games.
Anthony: You like snow boarding?
Steve: (Laughs.) Yeah.
Anthony: OK. How often do you get back to California? (Steve’s home state.)
Steve: I go every May. (Both laugh.) I make sure I go when it’s sunshine over there.

Anthony: (Smiles.) How does a California guy end up going to college in Utah?
Steve: I didn’t want to go somewhere too far from home. But, I wanted a free trip to somewhere different. I always told myself that I wanted to go somewhere for free, that I wouldn’t ever visit. I liked the atmosphere. And, I was from California and had never seen snow. (Both laugh.) There were a lot of things that I liked about the school. Plus, they pass the ball a lot, so that helped me.
Steve Smith will actor Will Smith, during his visit to Charlotte.

Anthony: No doubt. How are you enjoying Charlotte?
Steve: It’s great. (Laughs.) I actually live in South Carolina. South Carolina is even better.
Anthony: When I watch you on the field, I’m always impressed by your ability.Do you think that you get enough respect?
Steve: Probably not. But respect is actually in the eye of the beholder. You don’t have to respect me, but corners know that when they line up against me it’s going to be a tough game. Just because nobody says a lot about me doesn’t mean that players don’t respect me. Teams run a different coverage from what we watched in their previous games.

Anthony: (Smiles.) OK. Is there a lot of trash talking that goes on during football games?
Steve: Yeah, sometimes. I did a lot of trash talking my first couple of years, but now I don’t. It exerts too much energy. I may say something to a guy to see where his head is.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Uh huh. I bet, dawg.

Steve: (Giggles.) A lot of times a guy is talking to me, and I just ignore him. (Both laugh.) And, that kind of irritates him. He can’t get me out of my game.
Anthony: Which defensive back would you say has played you the tightest?
Steve: I would have to say, “Champ.” Champ Bailey. He usually does a good job against me. 

Anthony: You began your career as one of the premier kick return guys in the league. Now you’ve obviously elevated your game as a receiver. Where are you in your career?
Steve: I’m kind of where I would like to be in my career. I am enjoying playing. I'm enjoying life. I’ve got my goals. I want to be a consistent pro bowl receiver and a hall of famer. But only time will tell.

Anthony: If you could play any other position, what would it be?
Steve: Honestly?

Anthony: (Smiles.) Of course
Steve: Punter or long snapper.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Come on now. Why?
Steve: They have long careers and don’t do anything. (Both laugh.) What they make in three checks, I probably make in eight or nine checks.
Anthony: What’s your favorite TV show?
Steve: “Law and Order.”

Anthony: I used to watch that all of the time. That used to be my show too, dawg. What’s your relationship like with coach Rivera?

Steve: (Laughs.) Uh, I’d say day to day.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Let’s conclude with free association. 

Steve: OK.
Anthony: The Temptations.
Steve: Good music.
Anthony: Rocky Balboa.
Steve: (Laughs.) Ugly.

Anthony: USC.
Steve: Shammed.
Anthony: Utah.
Steve: Up and coming.

Smith with his wife at a Bobcats game.
Anthony: Peyton Smith. (Steve’s son)
Steve: Future first rounder.
Anthony: The lovely Baylee. (Steve’s daughter.)
Steve: Staying at home until she’s 30. (Both laugh.)
Anthony: Well, we’re through dawg. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Steve: It's cool. You know that. I'll see you later, man.
Anthony: You already know.

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