Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has gained a reputation throughout his career as someone who isn't afraid of a fight. Well, after the Panthers' 30-15 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week 7, it seems Smith has found his latest pugilistic target: Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
An obviously frustrated Smith spoke to the media after the game, accusing Jenkins of speaking ill of his family and saying he'd fight him if he saw him in public, per Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer:
"What I don’t like is a young guy, comes in, obviously his first time ever using the internet and Google, and he Googles information about me, talks about my wife and stuff like that," Smith said, per Jones. "That’s kind of some of the (B.S). I just don’t play with."
Smith's comments came after a particularly contentious, ugly game between the two teams. There were numerous personal-foul penalties called, five of which came against the Rams. St. Louis defensive end Chris Long was ejected in the third quarter after throwing a punch, which led to Panthers fans throwing items at him on the field and Long to respond with an explicit gesture.
Meanwhile, Smith and Jenkins were also off on the outside engaging in their own skirmishes. The two men were physical with one another and jawing back and forth the entire game, but Smith got the better of Jenkins on the field. The 34-year-old veteran caught five passes for 69 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 27-12 lead in the third quarter.
While in the end zone, Smith began celebrating by doing Deion Sanders' classic "Prime Time" touchdown dance before pointing at Jenkins and crossing his arms. The celebration drew an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, but Smith felt it was more important to send a message.
"Well he thinks he’s Deion (Sanders)," Smith said. "He’s not."
Smith has been known to engage in physical and verbal wars with opposing cornerbacks throughout his career. He charged after Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes last Sunday, leading Smith to pull another celebratory trick out of his bag. The Panthers' all-time leading receiver was famously sent home from the team's 2008 training camp after injuring teammate Ken Lucas with a punch.
Jenkins is in his second season with St. Louis and has quickly emerged as one of the league's best young cornerbacks. He recorded two tackles in Week 7 while struggling to cover Smith. He hasn't responded to Smith's comments at this time.
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