Steve Smith blasts Dave Gettleman

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Wide receiver Steve Smith blasted Carolina general manager David Gettleman during a radio interview Wednesday, criticizing the manner in which he was released by the Panthers earlier this year.

"Yes, it was personal with me and Dave Gettleman," Smith said Wednesday on Charlotte radio station WFNZ. "Obviously, I did something that got under his skin."

Smith, now a member of the Baltimore Ravens, caught seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 38-10 victory over his former team.

Smith had called into the station Wednesday to refute an NFL Network report aired last week saying he had refused a pay cut and instead asked for a release from the 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. "Man, I just find it interesting."

Before being released, Smith said Gettleman told him that he was a shell of the player he once 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 Gettleman. "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 his agent, Derrick Fox, had scheduled a 9 a.m. appointment to talk to Gettleman about the receiver's future on the morning he was released.

Smith, 35, said he then heard on WFNZ -- at 8:15 a.m. -- that he had been released.

"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."

Those remarks were aimed at Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, who is on the commissioner's exempt list until his domestic violence case is resolved and earlier in his career was involved in a motorcycle accident that forced him to miss much of training camp.

Smith was asked whether he had anything to say to the GM 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."

Gettleman walked away when approached for a comment Wednesday.

Smith said he's glad that Carolina coach Ron Rivera sought him out after Sunday's game to shake his hand.

'Ron Rivera, through that whole ordeal, never sat down and talked to me," Smith said. "He texted me after the release and said, 'Sorry it happened this way.' That was the only time he talked to me.

"[Sunday] was the first time since I was released that he sat down and went out of his way and shook my hand and looked at me man to man."

Rivera said Wednesday he didn't want to discuss Smith's comments.

"I don't need to defend myself because I'm not going to address it,'' Rivera said. "Believe me. I'm not gonna. This is the truth of the matter: I've moved on. I'd like to believe we've moved on. It's time to talk about the Carolina Panthers and the players that are here in our locker room.

"We're playing the Bears. We played the Ravens last week. I'm going to move on. Believe me guys, I don't worry about those things I can't control.''

Tight end Greg Olsen took the same approach.

"That's over,'' he said.

Newton, meanwhile, said he never got the perception that Smith was jealous of him as the receiver indicated he had been told.

"Absolutely not,'' he said. "Whether it was perceived in upper heights or through the media or outside the locker room, me and Steve Smith's relationship was as strong as it could be.

"I've always looked up to him. Before I even came into this league, when I had the opportunity to come along with the Carolina Panthers ... one of the things I looked forward to was teaming up with Steve.''

Newton said after Sunday's game he wished Smith still was on the team.

"He taught me so much off the field and on the field, and I appreciated it,'' Newton said. "We have to move on. We have to live and learn from the things that was taught to us, and we've got to be better from it.''