Mighty Mouth: 10 great moments in Steve Smith’s trash-talking
“Man, I came out of the womb trash-talking,” Steve Smith Sr. once said. And he hasn’t stopped since.
At age 36, the fiery 5-foot-9 wide receiver announced on Monday that he will hang up his cleats at the end of the 2015 season, which will be his 15th in the NFL. Currently, “Agent 89” ranks 14th in all-time receiving yards with 13,262 and 18th in receptions with 915. If the NFL also measured quality or quantity of trash-talking (it does track end-zone celebrations), Smith would probably rank near the top those categories, too (along with former Santa Monica College teammate Chad Johnson).
Smith’s burning passion has always been palpable. It’s what’s driven him to silence doubters and cut up opposing secondaries for nearly a decade-and-a-half. On occasion, that passion has boiled over and got him in trouble. One lowlight came in 2008 when Smith broke teammate Ken Lucas’ nose during a training-camp fight, resulting in a two-game suspension by the Panthers.
Nevertheless, the electric Smith has been a pleasure to watch and even more entertaining for the ears — especially when he’s taken aim at other players. Let’s review.
1. ON VIKINGS CORNERBACK FRED SMOOT (2005)
"Whatchamacallit was talking to me in the pregame," Smith said of Smoot. "When somebody is banging on your door, I am not going to hide in the corner . . . I am going to open it."
Smith opened that door widely in a 11-catch, 201-yard and one touchdown performance in which used a row-boat celebration to mock Smoot and his teammates who had a role in the infamous Love Boat scandal.
told ESPN’s Mike & Mike. "He was never the same after. After coming in Bank of America Stadium, things just went downhill (for him) from there."
Smoot conceded that Smith wrecked him that particular Sunday in 2005 but not without making excuses (even while saying he wasn’t making excuses). He also lobbed a grenade back at Smith:
“I can say this about Steve Smith, and I can say this, my worst day in the NFL, he had a part in,” Smoot said. “He’s the guy that beat me. But I don’t say he beat me. [QB Jake] Delhomme threw great passes all day long and beat me. I had Ted Cottrell as a defensive coordinator call cover three all day and got me beat. So it’s fine, I don’t make excuses. He beat me. But no, you didn’t ruin my career, and yes, I’m happy and I’m still smiling, and I’m good, and I’m fine Steve Smith. So don’t worry about it, Steve Incognito. You’re so soft.”
2. ON FALCONS CORNERBACK DEANGELO HALL (2006)
Time and mutual respect has softened the feud between Hall and Smith, which reached its pinnacle in 2005-06.
Before a game in September 2006, Hall said of Smith, "This is business. You best believe, when he’s hanging in the air, I will be taking a shot at him. Period. I’m trying to kill people this year. Period."
Hall also called Smith’s 18-yard touchdown against Hall in the previous December’s Falcons-Panthers showdown a “fluke.”
"I didn’t think he had much success against me," Hall said. "They weren’t trying to go downfield with [Smith] at all. They threw a couple little narrow routes. Obviously, he broke that one. Bad tackling. Fluke play. You do it 10 times, I make that play nine times. So besides that one fluke play, the guy didn’t have that much success against me."
That didn’t go over well with Smith, who responded:
“If that’s the kind of game he’s trying to play,” Smith added, “he’s barking up the wrong tree. It’s a big-a– tree."
3. ON PATRIOTS CORNERBACK AQIB TALIB (2013)
The 2013 battle between Smith and Talib (whom Smith had faced numerous times during Talib’s tenure with the NFC South’s Buccaneers) featured an abundance of pushing, shoving, grabbing and jawing — before, during and after the whistle. Smith caught four passes for 62 yards against Talib and delivered a verbal knockout blow afterward. Let’s roll tape for this one:
The wonderful line inspired some gameday attire:
4. ON RAMS CORNERBACK JANORIS JENKINS (2013)
— #PanthersCamp (@Panthers) December 8, 2013
In his second year in the league, the Rams’ Jenkins picked a fight he probably came to regret. Apparently, Jenkins did some research before the game and tried to use the personal information to tweak Smith, who finished with five catches for 69 yards and a score.
“What I don’t like is a young guy, comes in, obviously his first time ever using the Internet and Google, and he Googles information about me, talks about my wife and stuff like that,” Smith explained after the game. “That’s kind of some of the (B.S). I just don’t play with.”
“What specifically was he saying? That’s all I’m going to say," Smith said. "I don’t play them games. When you try to take it personal like that, I don’t have any great humbling things to say. So he can take his (rear) back to St. Louis and watch the (expletive) film because I don’t play them games. And if I see him in the streets I’m going to punch him in his (expletive) mouth.”
This was Smith disapproving:
But wait, there’s more. Later in the week Smith returned fire again:
“It sounds like he needs to wear some condoms,” Smith said of Jenkins, who had four kids with three different women as of 2012. “That’s what it sounds like he needs to wear.”
said, "that’s what I think of a Baltimore Raven, what I think of is, we go in there and we take your lunch box. We take your sandwich. We take your juice box. We take your applesauce. And we take your spork and we break it. And we leave you with an empty lunch. That’s the Baltimore Raven way, that’s the bully way, and that’s football."
Now on WFNZ, Steve Smith on possibly playing vs #Panthers: “Put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.”
— Bill Voth (@billvoth) March 13, 2014
8. AFTER FACING THE PANTHERS (2014)
Smith promised blood and guts if he faced the Panthers, and the “old man” delivered. Former Panthers teammate DeAngelo Williams was wise to dress appropriately:
Smith torched Carolina’s secondary for seven receptions, 139 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 Ravens smackdown. Then he dropped this gem:
9. ON WHETHER HE HAD RECOVERED FROM AN ILLNESS (2014)
10. ON A TWITTER TROLL’S BARB ABOUT HIS AGE (AND BONE DENSITY) (2015)
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) September 25, 2014
Smith apparently bookmarked one troll’s shot at him and waited until his 36th birthday to respond:
The lesson remains: Trash-talk Steve Smith at your own peril.
Steve Smith was asked about his stamina after being sick this week. "You can ask my wife about my stamina," he said.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) December 14, 2014
— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) May 12, 2015