Steve Smith clears the air on alleged beef with Newton originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Cam Newton's latest win in the court of public opinion came from an unlikely source.
Ex-Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., not one for apologies or high praise, issued both to his former quarterback on the latest episode of his podcast, "Cut To It featuring Steve Smith Sr."
"I don't hate Cam. He is one of the most athletic quarterbacks I have ever played with," Smith said on the podcast. "We had some good times and we had some bad times. When you're losing, those are bad times."
Smith spent three years as Newton's teammate in Carolina before the Panthers released him in 2013. Many believed Smith's messy exit was tied to him not seeing eye-to-eye with Newton, who was rapidly becoming the face of a franchise that Smith had defined for years.
Some even believed Newton played a role in the Panthers' decision to cut Smith. But the retired wideout debunked that theory while insisting he doesn't hold a grudge against the star quarterback.
"Cam was caught in the middle. Cam didn't do anything," Smith said. "I don't hate Cam. I love the dude. He's a fantastic player. Now I'll say it now, I probably need to apologize because I was a d---, but I mean, that's who I was."
Newton may have related to Smith this offseason when the Panthers unceremoniously released him after nine seasons. The 31-year-old has landed on his feet with the Patriots, though, taking even Smith by surprise during his strong start in New England.
"He's ballin'. A lot of people thought he wasn't going to be this," Smith said. "I'm shocked how well he's playing so early in a new system."
Newton also has been a quality teammate with the Patriots as he continues a career resurgence not dissimilar to Smith's with the Baltimore Ravens.