Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith called Charlotte radio station WFNZ on Wednesday to refute an NFL Network report that claimed he had refused a pay cut and instead asked for a release from the Carolina Panthers.
“You wake up in the morning after a good win and you just read reports about [how] you demand this and demand that,” Smith said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “Man, I just find it interesting.”
Smith, who caught seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns against his former team, criticized Panthers general manager David Gettleman for how he was released earlier this year.
“Yes, it was personal with me and Dave Gettleman,” Smith said Wednesday. “Obviously, I did something that got under his skin.”
Smith said Gettleman told him he was a distraction to the team and jealous of quarterback Cam Newton.
“I say, ‘Well, is this about a pay cut?'” Smith said of a conversation with Gettlemen. “He laughs and says, ‘No, this is not about a pay cut, but thanks for asking.’ And then says, ‘We’re going to trade you.’
“… I pick up myself, walk out, shower and I call my wife and say, ‘We’re done here. I will either be traded or released.’ I knew from the jump I was going to be released or traded.”
Smith said he learned of his release while listening to WFNZ.
“He doesn’t even have the cojones to tell us to our face,” Smith said. “We have to hear it from someone else. Then he calls and says, like everyone else says, ‘It wasn’t personal.’
“If the first thing that comes out is, ‘It wasn’t personal’ … Guess what? It was personal. Then he says that [I] could have called at any time. And now that I played well, you’re going to say I was a distraction, I’ve always been a distraction.
“But yet, I didn’t beat my wife. Yeah, I hit some teammates six or seven years ago, but I didn’t beat my wife. I didn’t get arrested for DUIs. I didn’t fall off no motorcycles. I made mistakes, but building this big old crutch about it as if I pushed their hands.”
The former Panther was asked f he had anything to say to Gettleman now.
“I don’t have anything to say to Dave Gettleman,” Smith said. “He told me what he thought of me. And my play [Sunday] told me what I thought of him.”