CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins apparently didn't have it all out of his system.
A day after ripping his team in the aftermath of its 20-7 loss to Tampa Bay ("As a team collectively, we have no heart, we have no energy, we have no pride," he said) Jenkins was back at it in the locker room, offering up more opinions on the team's struggles.
In yet another rambling diatribe -- at one point he laughed at himself and admitted he forgot which point he was trying to make -- Jenkins said he didn't back down from his previous statements.
"I felt like yesterday what I felt needed to be said needed to be said," Jenkins said Monday. "I'm going to be honest, I've been here for a while and there's frustration when you see things happen over and over again and things just don't get taken care of. Certain things, ups and downs, you know. We can do better than that. And that's what it is. I felt like the team as a whole is better than that. If it was something that I felt that we were mediocre at best, that was the talent we had, and we just couldn't get it done, I would keep my mouth shut. I was looking at it like regardless it might have been a good thing, keep it moving but I know we can do better than that, I know we have what it takes to get a Super Bowl here, but we just have to exercise it.
"That's what came out yesterday, that frustration, that intensity."
Panthers coach John Fox, speaking earlier in the day, seemed to have no problem with Jenkins' remarks, even though they appeared to have the potential to be divisive.
"I think obviously after the way we performed, there's frustration," Fox said. "I think that was what those remarks were based on."
And not all of his teammates agreed with his assessment. When asked if the team lacked heart, quarterback Jake Delhomme went serious.
"I kind of see a lot of guys who kind of play hurt, play injured and play their behind off," Delhomme said. "I've seen No. 89 (wide receiver Steve Smith) play a little bit. I think he tries now and then. That's tongue-in-cheek, by the way. I disagree with that, absolutely. But that's me."
When asked if it concerned him that Jenkins questioned the team's heart, Fox replied: "No, because I think that's pretty understandable. You start a game like we did, ... a lot of people out there want to find answers."
Fox said he had spoken to Jenkins since the incident, which came unprompted by questions from reporters Sunday night. He simply talked, and talked, and Fox was careful to mention: "I don't put a gag order on anybody."
Jenkins freely admits he's not what most people view as a leader. He's not a captain (an easy distinction, since none of them talked after the Bucs loss), though he has been here seven years and played at a high level. That runs counter to the perception in some minds that he's a bad influence because of his insistence on staying away from voluntary workouts -- "The key word there was voluntary," Fox said -- and previously admitted problems with alcohol.
"I know I'm not the perfect person," Jenkins said. "I know I haven't done everything by the book and some people look at me as being a rebel or whatever, but when it's all said and done, the things I am asked of this organization to do that are mandatory, which require me to be here, I come and I give them 100 percent. I'm not perfect in anything I do, so just like I'm pretty sure they demand 100 percent of me, you know, I have to demand 100 percent of myself and my teammates. Its just not something I can come in here and say 'Oh everything is cool as it is.'
"I'm not a captain, but a lot of the younger guys look up to me for leadership, and it wouldn't be right for me to give them anything less."
Jenkins said he had several conversations with teammates and coaches about his remarks over the course of the day, and said he thought all the feedback was positive. He admitted being uncomfortable in the role as spokesman, and in fact, this is the first time in years he's talked in such quick succession.
But he also said he felt a need to air his grievances rather than letting them go in a closed-door meeting, since the remarks are now out there for the sake of accountability. He also hinted that his concerns might have trigged the trade talk of this spring, though he quickly referred questions to his agent when asked to clarify that stance.
"At the time what I felt was sometimes when you say them in closed doors it's easy to kind of let things pass on," he said. "If everybody knows what's going on, then you've got to hold yourself accountable. That was it. I'm not the type of person who's going to say something to y'all that I won't say to the person himself. Everybody's known how I felt since training camp, since before the season. And that's the truth of it.
"The whole trade thing, for me that's what it had to do with. So it's been on my mind. But the season's here, things aren't getting addressed, so I figured why not tell y'all and put it in the paper and that way it has to be addressed. I'm not really big fans of you all, but when you get writing stuff it does put pressure on us.
"I still stand by everything I said. Like I say, this is the easiest way to put it, if it was right or it was wrong, that has yet to be determined. If I owe anybody any apologies, those will come out. But I felt like what needed to be said needed to be said. So I have no problem standing on it."
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