Steve Smith returns to Carolina as a golden oldie

Tue, Apr 10

Since joining the NFL in 2001, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has been at the center of some crazy extremes: From the depths of a 1-15 rookie season to falling short of Super Bowl glory against the Patriots by a field goal, this guy has been through just about everything in the car wash.

And as Panthers fans celebrate Smith's agreeing to a three-year contract extension that essentially guarantees he'll finish his career with the franchise, perhaps nothing symbolizes those extremes of "awesome!" and "huh-whuh?" better than the time Smith and quarterback Jake Delhomme starred in a "Dukes of Hazzard" parody commercial for the Bojangles' chain of fast-food chicken restaurants.

Yup, there's a General Lee mockup retrofitted with a giant chicken head and tail. I'll have to ask my mechanic how that would make a Dodge Charger more aerodynamic when evading country-road cops.

As for tossing footballs that can cause a barn to explode? Pure. Genius.

Today, Delhomme is long gone from the Carolinas, so another "Dukes" spot might not get a green light (especially if unrestricted free agent Jeremy Shockey re-signs solely for the chance to play the role of Daisy Duke).

But surely there's no shortage of ideas to re-enact classic TV shows -- along with Carolina-based co-stars -- for sequels that Smith can pull off for future commercials.

• Veteran Smith and young Panthers quarterback Cam Newton can walk down to the fishin' hole with the same father-son vibe as Andy Griffith and Ron Howard did to start "The Andy Griffith Show." Ha-ha, now you've got that whistling theme song stuck in your head.

• Create a "CSI: Carolina" crime scene where Mike Krzyzewski co-stars as the detective who whips his sunglasses off when he delivers the restaurant's latest tagline.

• Or, if no one else is around, just borrow Chuck Norris' hat for a "Walker, Carolina Ranger" rip-off. And roundhouse kick some bad-guy extras in the face.

Thank you, and drive through.