Steve Smith won't let Cam Newton sulk

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had a dreadful night against the Giants on Thursday. (Reuters)

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had a dreadful night against the Giants on Thursday. (Reuters)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:15 AM ET

Steve Smith isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Following Thursday’s humiliating annihilation at the hands of the New York Giants, Smith, Carolina’s veteran leader, blasted young quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton was removed late in the 36-7 loss and sulked on the bench instead of supporting backup Derek Anderson or trying to figure out how to get better.

“I don’t want to be passive and not do it because if I don’t do it, who will?” Smith said.”

“So, ya, I lit into him because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what was going on. This is more than about playing football. It’s about becoming a man and understanding what this is.”

Tough love, but will Newton be mature enough to handle it?

And did Smith need to let everyone know publicly that he put Newton on blast?

Newton declined comment and won’t talk to the media until next Wednesday.

“I said: ‘Get up and learn from this,’ ” Smith said. “This is an opportunity for you to get some mental reps. Don’t just sit on the bench and sulk. I know you feel bad, but that isn’t going to help us.”

Newton threw three interceptions, looked out of sorts all night and now has two throwing touchdowns versus a troubling five interceptions for the season.

He completed 53.3% of his passes after completing 70% over the first two games of the year and his 15.6 quarterback rating was by far the worst of his career.

Granted, New York has some very good players up front, but Newton is Carolina’s franchise player and can’t sit back and feel sorry for himself.

Last year, offensive linemen Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross talked to Newton in private about getting frustrated by events going on in games.

Smith wouldn’t admit that making the incident public was a mistake, saying former teammate Ricky Proehl did the same thing to him once, although more subtly.

Gross disagreed, saying:

“He wants to win as much as anybody, and when we don’t, he takes it to heart. I would like any of my teammates, if they’re upset about things, to talk it out with us in the locker room, and know that we’re all in it together.”

To which Smith replied: “If this is something wrong for saying that, well, I’d rather be wrong and one day during his long career he goes: ‘Ah, I hated to hear that, but maybe that’s what Smitty was talking about.’ ”

ALLEN IS GAME

Marcus Allen will attend a Raiders game for the first time in 20 years.

The former Raiders great had a falling out with late owner Al Davis, but will light the flame that honours Davis, prior to Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, according to CSNBayArea.com.

Davis’ son, Mark, encouraged the reunion.

Allen and Bo Jackson formed one of the most devastating 1-2 punches in NFL history before Jackson’s injury ended due to injury and Allen’s relationship with Davis soured for unknown reasons.

QUICK HITS

Packers tight end Jermichael Finley insists he had no influence on his agent’s recent claim, via Twitter, that Aaron Rodgers “isn’t a great leader.” Finley called Rodgers “the man” while Rodgers called the agent “silly.” … Bears running back Matt Forte will not play on Sunday against St. Louis because of his ankle injury. Michael Bush will take over … Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will not play against Arizona because of a hip pointer. Starting left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring) also will sit … Pittsburgh stars James Harrison and Troy Polamalu will miss another game. Running back Rashard Mendenhall also remains sidelined … Chad Johnson has pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge and was sentenced Friday to a year’s probation and a counseling course … Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati because of his foot injury … Canadian-born Indianapolis receiver Austin Collie still needs clearance from doctors before making his season debut, but he could play on Sunday … Cornerback Darrelle Revis is likely to play against Miami after participating in multiple full practices … St. Louis running back Steven Jackson has been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with a groin injury after skipping practice on Friday … New England linebacker Jerod Mayo was fined $21,000 U.S. for hitting a defenceless player while New York Giants safety Kenny Philips was fined $30,000 — the most the NFL has fined anybody so far this season — for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson.

REPORTER, SCOTT GO AT IT

Longtime New York Jets reporter Dan Leberfeld managed to incite a fracas in the Jets locker room on Friday by refusing to use common sense.

Jets linebacker Bart Scott had to be separated by a PR staffer from Leberfeld after Leberfeld tried to take a picture of him.

Scott has not talked on the record since Week 1, but has talked off-the-record a couple of times and Leberfeld attempted to take pictures for Jets Confidential magazine both times.

Scott asked Leberfeld the question many of us would have: Why? Leberfeld said he took the picture because he wanted to, or because he could, depending on which account you read. Scott told him to “get a life” then threatened to hit Leberfeld who told him to do it and that he would sue.

The whole thing seems idiotic with both sides sharing blame, though Leberfeld apparently thinks he did nothing wrong and said he was simply working on a story about Scott’s media boycott.

“We work hard to foster an appropriate working environment,” the Circus, er, Jets, said in a statement. “We regret this incident occurred and are reviewing the matter.”

Scott has proven to be a sullen, anti-media individual in the past, but there is a way to handle things and a way not to and Leberfeld was also off-side.

 


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