Panthers WR Steve Smith says Saints player admitted targeting him
In an interview with NFL.com, Panthers wideout Steve Smith said a Saints defender told him during a game that "We get fined if we don't go after your legs when you go out of bounds."
|"We get fined if we don't go after your legs when you go out of bounds." - Saints player to Steve Smith (Getty Images)|
Oh boy. Hours after Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt told the media that "At no time did any of our players ever cross the white line to intentionally hurt another player," Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith recounted an incident in which a Saints player crossed the white line to intentionally hurt him.
Appearing on NFL.com's "Dave Dameshek Football Program," Smith said "I actually had an altercation with a (Saints player) who told me firsthand. I was going out of bounds, and the guy went for my ankle. I said, 'Hey, man, cut that out.' He's like, 'Well, we get fined if we don't go after your legs when you go out of bounds.' ... And actually this past year, this last game when we played them, I had a little conversation with Gregg Williams. ... He took responsibility, he was saying it wasn't right, but that's who he was."
Smith didn't want to name the Saints player in question but it's the latest revelation into the bounty scandal that has seen Williams suspended indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton suspended for the year, Vitt for six games and general manager Mickey Loomis for eight game. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also fined the organization $500,000 and took away their 2012 and 2013 second-round pick. And he's not done; Goodell also plans to punish those players involved in the bounty scheme.
Smith, who just signed a three-year extension with Carolina, had an altercation last season with Saints safety Roman Harper. Or as colleague Will Brinson put it at the time, Harper perpetrated "one of the cheapest shots I've seen." Karma sorted it all out; Smith ended up going to town on Harper's teammate, Malcolm Jenkins (see below).
Cam Newton and scores a 54-yard touchdown during a Week 5 matchup with the Saints.
And Harper, not Smith, was fined $15,000.
"I just was like, 'You’re not going to walk and showboat in our end zone like that,'" Harper said in October. "I just lost it, and maybe I shouldn’t have hit him but I did. I’m not going to apologize for what I did."
Two things. First, if you watch the replay, Smith didn't "showboat in our end zone like that" until after Harper's cheap shot. Second, Williams has since taken care of the apologies.
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