CHARLOTTE – Apologetic, yet defiant, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said Thursday he regretted playing in an adult flag football league at the Siskey YMCA in Charlotte that resulted in a broken left arm and added that he won't be doing it again anytime soon.
Smith is expected to miss 6-8 weeks but should be ready for the Sept. 12 regular season opener against the New York Giants.
"Obviously, I put my team and myself in a bad situation by playing," Smith said after calling into the Mac Attack program on WFNZ-AM. "But that wasn't my intention and wasn't what I thought the outcome was going to be."
Smith later added that he wished he could take it back, before defending himself by saying, “I am a regular guy outside of football. I mow my grass, too. I can get my finger chopped off fixing my lawnmower. I could roll my ankle playing tag or slip-n-slide with my kids. In hindsight, yeah, I won't do it again. But I was just having fun, playing with some guys."
The injury came while Smith was playing defensive back and trying to bat down a pass. He lost his balance and landed on his arm. It's the same arm he broke last December against the Giants.
The team is not expected to withhold any money from Smith if he misses a game, even though Smith violated the terms of the NFL players' contract which prohibits them from playing football outside of the team. When asked why he would risk getting injured in a flag football game, Smith said, “If you get out of your little shallow box, you would understand it's more than just money for me in this game. This is what I grew up playing, and it was my offseason. Until freaking Father's Day, nothing had happened."
Smith had another plate and screws inserted during surgery Sunday night, according to his agent Derrick Fox.
Seemingly perturbed with all of the negative hype surrounding the injury, Smith said he won’t be play flag football again.
"I'm going to sit in my bubble," he said. "That's what I'm going to do for the rest of my career. That would be better for everybody."