Steve Smith talks about in-team fighting

Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is returning from a two-game suspension after fighting with teammate Ken Lucas in training camp. Smith talked openly about his relationship with Lucas now and how he views his two fights with teammates.

Steve Smith admitted that he and Ken Lucas never saw eye-to-eye before their training camp altercation that left Smith suspended for the first two games of the season.

"I thought he didn't like me and he thought I didn't like him. It's plain and simple," Smith said. "I mean I've always respected Ken. I guess it was just two prima donnas."

However, since then Smith and Lucas sat down and talked — for about 2 1/2 hours, according to Smith — and ironed things out.

"Yeah, I would say we're friends," Smith said. "I would think we're friends. I think the conversation we had (in training camp) would indicate we are. I think we had a great conversation," he said. "There were some frowns going on, some laughing and we talked about a lot of things. I think that was kind of the icebreaker. Hopefully it continues and I think it will."

Smith makes his return to the field Sunday when Carolina visits Minnesota.

Despite having been suspended twice by the Panthers for fighting with teammates, Smith doesn't believe he's down to his last chance with the Panthers. The other incident came back in 2002 when Smith beat up teammate Anthony Bright in a film room fight.

"No, I'm not looking at it that way," Smith said. "I just come here to play. Is it my last chance? I don't see putting myself back in this predicament, no matter what people may speculate.

"People already had their perception of me anyway. I'm just kind of doing my deal and still going on. Playing football and doing the stuff I need to do. It is what it is. If I allow my past to just stay in the back of my head all of the time, then I miss out on the future and the present. ... That is where I'm at. I'm trying to let it go. Not to forget about it, no. Yes, I've made the mistake twice. I'm not planning (on) making it a third time."

Smith said he's not going back into anger management counseling.


  • CB Chris Gamble (arm) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and should play this week against Minnesota.

  • SLB Na'il Diggs (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and should play this week against Minnesota.

  • DE Tyler Brayton (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and should play this week against Minnesota.

  • CB Richard Marshall practiced for the second straight day on a limited basis and should play Sunday.

  • LG Travelle Wharton revealed to reporters on Wednesday that he has a sprained MCL in his right knee and he was held out of work again Thursday. That's typically an injury that keeps players out about a month, but the Panthers have been vague on the seriousness of the sprain. Look for Geoff Hangartner to start in his place.

  • WR/PR Ryne Robinson remains a question mark. He practiced again Thursday on a limited basis, but coach John Fox would only say he's "day-to-day." This one truly may come down to a game-time decision.

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