Despite spending the bulk of the second half of the Green Bay game benched after fumbling consecutive kickoffs, it appears that Steve Smith will once again be running back kicks on Sunday. Smith has shown amazing flash with returns in the pre-season and the by running the opening kickoff of the regular season at Minnesota back for a touchdown, but, against Green Bay, he dropped the ball and an end-around, and lost consecutive kickoffs to open the second half. The Packers took both 38-yards for touchdowns to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 21-7 lead.
Understanding that Smith is a rookie and somewhat fragile, Seifert anticipates he'll continue to start him, "as of right now, I don't suspect there will be a change. But, I always leave my options open."
Smith spent Wednesday's open lockerroom telling reporters that he continues to be confident in his abilities and that he won't let the fumbles get into his head. He has talked with his college coach about the drops and understands, he just needs to keep playing his own game.
The one thing Smith learned last Sunday was what a joy parenthood can be. Feeling about as low as you can following his day of drops, he arrived home to hear his nearly 4-year-old son Peyton tell him, "you played a good game today, Dad."
Somehow in moments like that, you realize what is really important, and bad feelings just disappear.
The Panthers signed reserve linebacker Nate Hemsley Wednesday. He was in camp with the Dolphins and stuck around in Miami to continue working out after being cut. The Panthers will be a little short in the linebacking department while top pick Dan Morgan sits out 4-6 weeks with a broken labia.