Carolina Panthers

Captain Smith still doesn't feel need to talk with media

Carolina's Steve Smith reacts after dropping a pass.
Carolina's Steve Smith reacts after dropping a pass.

CHARLOTTE -- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said Wednesday he didn't necessarily see talking to the media as part of his responsibility as a team captain, although he did talk about his perception of the role.

He's been quiet in recent weeks, suggesting to some he was done talking for the year. He's threatened such before, but his personality lends itself to brash statements. That's part of the reason he said he didn't talk after the Panthers' loss to Tampa Bay last week, acknowledging he might have gone off.

"Being a married guy, I know me and my wife sometimes have disagreements about our children," Smith said. "I'm not going to sit there and go at her with it. You've got to sit it aside, calm down and look at it from her perspective and my perspective and that's how I looked at it.

"For me to come out here after a loss and say something I might regret? I'm not going to expose myself to that, I'm not going to expose my teammates to that."

None of the Panthers' five captains spoke after the loss, which made defensive tackle Kris Jenkins' "no heart" comments stand in stark contrast. Smith said he heard about the comments, but didn't want to make it appear he was in name-calling mode.

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion, just like you guys are going to write what you're going to write," Smith said. "For me, I don't focus on it, not because I think what Kris said is right or wrong, but there's a football game that needs to go on, and in this locker room we have to keep each other close together."

When asked if he thought captains had a responsibility to talk when things were tough, Smith pointed to improving his play first.

"No, I don't feel like I have a responsibility," he said. "My responsibility is to my teammates, and to make sure I'm accountable for myself and to hold them accountable. But to go and say, I must get people answers ... I can't throw stones, I live in a glass house like everybody else.

"I drop balls, so I can't say this guy did this and this guy did that. I need to tidy up my kitchen, so that's what I'm doing, focusing on myself and not talking about anybody else. Will I speak to the media, to you guys? Not really."

• FIRMLY GROUNDED: Coach John Fox laughed and said he respected quarterback David Carr's first-down leap last week, but the part that worried him was the way he flicked the ball down before he was downed by a defender.

"I thought it was a good play; we've got to make sure we're down, though, before the ball comes out," Fox said. "He's a competitor. I won't question his passion or heart or toughness, just like anybody on this team."

• INJURY UPDATE: Four players were held out of practice, including quarterback Jake Delhomme (elbow), linebacker Dan Morgan (Achilles tendon) and running back Nick Goings (concussion).

Running back DeShaun Foster was given a day off, but was included on the official report as "team decision." Fox pointed out Foster wasn't hurt or being punished.

Backup middle linebacker Adam Seward (calf) was back in a limited capacity, which would at least give the Panthers some depth. Last week, with Morgan and Seward out, they had to start James Anderson, a spot he'd never played.

• GREAT TIMING: When asked about catching New Orleans at 0-3, coming off the bye week, Fox said he had enough problems to worry about.

"I'm more concerned with us right now than them," he said.

He's got plenty of company.

The Saints are favored, and the Panthers know they have to fix things quickly.

"Well, the good thing about it is we can't go in there with a big head because we don't have anything to have a big head about," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "We are going to go in there humble and play hard. We both haven't done anything impressive. We're both trying to get on the right track."

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