Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Aug 2008

Panthers Suspend Steve Smith For Two Games

Note to all NFL players: Do not try to punch out a teammate on the practice field. After busting up cornerback Ken Lucas earlier this week, Smith was suspended by the Panthers for the first two games of the regular season. He'll miss the opener at San Diego, where Carolina will be underdogs with or without him, but he'll also miss the home opener against Chicago, and that could turn a win into a loss.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 02 Aug 2008

37 comments, Last at 06 Aug 2008, 7:32pm by Criag


by mark (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:16pm

keep choppin wood winner week 1

by Drunkmonkey (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:21pm

Only did it cause they were afraid that if the punishment wasn't severe enough, Goodell would get involved and he would most likely make it worse.

by b roo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:27pm

When will this get factored into KUBIAK? It might get Stewart a few more carries.

by Joseph (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:46pm

As a Saints fan, I wonder: How will/would this affect their 2008 Mean Win Projection from PFP? I mean, I know it's an average of 10,000 sims and all, but the computer didn't know that they wouldn't have Steve Smith for those 2 games--although I am sure a few of the sims assumed he would get injured for a few games or all season. Based on Mr. Verhei's commentary above, would you say it drops them down at least 1/2 win to 9.0 (vs. 9.5 in PFP)?

by FantasyStooge (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:51pm

Will either team exceed 100 yards passing in week 2?

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 2:54pm

As a Bears fan, my first reaction after the incident was "I hope he gets suspended for the first two games," but I didn't think it would actually happen. Now that it has happened, it definitely makes that second game more winnable for the Bears. All Bears fans vividly remember Smith torching the Bears in the 2005 playoffs. Thankfully, we won't see a repeat of that on September 14.

Also, my anti-spam word was "smith." That seems appropriate.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 3:02pm

He get one game suspension in 2002 for fighting, so he get two games this time. Whats so hard to uderstand?

Chargers luck out with scheduke by getting to play Pathers without Dmith. Raiders have to play Pathers in Week 10 with Smith probably back in lineup (always chance he get injured and miss that game for that reason).

by Tom D (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 3:46pm

Re 6:

I guess it's good that the game will be easier to win, but I prefer to face teams at full strength. If we can't beat the Panthers with Steve Smith, we're probably not going anywhere in the playoffs anyways.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 3:53pm

I'm not saying we can't beat the Panthers with Steve Smith, but it obviously will be easier without him. I guess I'm with Al Davis on this one: "Just win, baby."

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 4:16pm

#8 -

I don't think the Bears really need to worry about how far they'll go in the playoffs. They need to worry about the contract they'll have to give to the 5th overall pick in next year's draft.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 4:50pm

Given that the Panthers are welcoming Smith back to camp on Monday, I'm a little puzzled by the swift action, and what involvement the league office had. My understanding is that the team's rights to suspend a player exist independently of the league's right to discipline a player pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy.

Two games seems less than what Goodell would have given Smith (based if nothing else on the four games Sauerbrun got for getting into an argument with a cab driver), and I'm very curious to know to what extent these considerations were discussed with Goodell or his representatives, and to what extent we can expect this sort of team action to preempt league-imposed discipline in the future.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 6:18pm

#2- I'm surprised Goodell didn't get involved anyway, since it seems his goal in life is to see his name on the front page of ESPN.com. I'm being totally serious here: is there any other reason he'd inject himself into the Favre situation?

by Vincent Verhei :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 7:23pm

is there any other reason he’d inject himself into the Favre situation?

Well, in theory, his job is to see that whatever is best for the league happens. If there's a player out there (Let's call him Bert) who wants to play, and fans want to see Bert play, but the team that owns Bert's rights (let's call them the Hackers) is going out of their way to see that Bert doesn't play for them or anyone else, then you could argue that Goodell, in the best interest of the NFL, would have a responsibility to step in and see if there's a way to get Bert on the field, somewhere.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 08/02/2008 - 7:24pm

#12: According to the reports, Favre contacted Goodell, not the other way around.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 1:15am

The 'hackers', huh?

I dig, I dig. Great defensive DVOA in screens plays on the 'blue zone', awesome penetration, and quite a knack of avoiding the record book.

Would they all be scrappy, weird kids who lose all focus when cheerleaders walk into the field, though? What does that make Bert, then?

I'm no Raiderjoe, but I am drunk(ish).

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 6:14am

If, as I suspect, Goodell's goal has always been to turn the NFL into a 24-7 media circus, where there's constant discussion of everything EXCEPT what happens on the field, then it looks like "mission accomplished", at least from where I stand.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 9:35am

16- Well put.

13- Then why is he allowing GB to offer Favre $20 M to stay away? And doesn't it create a slippery slope when the commissioner gets involved in a contract dispute? Should he now step into Steven Jackson's holdout?

I apologize for turning this thread's attention from Smith to Goodell, but Post #2 proves my point: the NFL has turned into "All Goodell, All The Time", and I really dislike it.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 12:08pm

"but he’ll also miss the home opener against Chicago, and that could turn a win into a loss."

The Bears are still going to have to score somehow to win.

I don't expect the Bears offense to score a TD until somewhere around week 7.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 3:17pm

18: The Bears do have this Devin Hester fellow - you may have heard of him. He often scores TDs on special teams. They also can score TDs on defense. In fact, they won a game in 2006 in which they scored 3 TDS, none of which were on offense. You may remember that game - that was the game in Arizona in which it was shown that "the Bears are who we thought they were." So they don't need to score TDs on offense to win.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 6:46pm

Dear Mr. Smith,

We wholeheartedly support your forays into into amateur pugilism, and encourage you to deck, blindside and/or cold cock any and all of your teammates whenever and wherever you see fit. Whatever you do, Mr. Smith, as the kids say, "Don't go out like no punk."


The players, management and fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.

ps -- Delhomme been lookin' at you funny.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 7:20pm

I have to say, I'm also surprised that everyone thinks the Panthers did this preemptively to avoid bigger problems from the league.

Keep in mind - one of their players beat the crap out of another one. You have to punish the guy, and it can't be token. Period. Doesn't really matter who it is.

Plus, the CBA does limit the ways in which a player can be disciplined. I'm not sure what other options they had.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 11:31pm

Anybody recall offhand what Romo's punishment was when he broke a teammate's eye socket? Did they reduce his steroid ration for the week? Raiderjoe? Anybody?

by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 08/03/2008 - 11:36pm

BTW, that's Bill Romanowski (not Tony Romo) and Wikipedia was no help regarding files/suspension though it does mention the incident.

by sam (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 12:48am

re6 The Bears couldn't stop him in 05 but Seattle sure did.

by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 3:25am

The team had to punish him to avoid reiteliation (?) against him from the D in camp.
If I was a DB on this team, I sure would headcut him while the "no-contact" drills without that.
Maybe the Panthers don't want to cut their team in two.

by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 9:41am

re 24:

When Jake Delhomme is within a carry of being your leading rusher, it's going to be pretty easy for the opponent to focus on the one remaining weapon.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 9:53am

17 - Kevin. The $20M deal for Favre had been in the works since March. Once Favre retires, the Packers cannot market Favre's image and have to have his permission to do so. Given Favre's popularity, the Packers could probably recover the cost easily. I'm getting pretty tired of all the media speculation every time they hear a bit of info without knowing all the facts. I think the media is as much at fault for all this crap as Favre or the Packers. Just one more example of the poor state of journalism today.

by Temo (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 10:02am

Click the name for Romanowski's punishment. He was fined and suspended from practice for one day in what then-coach Callahan called a "very hefty discipline".

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 10:10am

Romo also punched out a bum that got cut. Steve Smith punched out a starting corner back.

by jumpin jahosofat! (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 1:16pm

so what do we have to do to get steve smith in the ring with romanowski?

by weaponx (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 3:25pm

Smith and Lucas spoke to the media today. FTA (linked in name) "Lucas said he'll need surgery, but he declined to give specifics"

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 4:19pm

Temo, Thanks.

Chris, "a bum that got cut?" well, he was a backup TE, but he also had his career ended because of the injury--your description is not very accurate. It may be true, but having double-vision for a year or a lifetime hardly seems justified even for a bum who got cut.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 4:24pm

He wasn't going to make the team anyway and tried to sue ROMO and milk it for all the money he could get. I also believe he was a safety.

I never said it didn't suck for him, but saying his career was ended by ROMO is not true. If Steve Erkel went out onto the field and got punched out by the punter, that doesn't mean the punter ended his career because it prevented him from playing.

People were critical of " the player" because he wasn't going to make the team anyway and they felt he was being the opportunist for sueing.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 4:29pm

#30 we can get 'em in the ring with Tom Rossovich, formerly of the Eagles in the 70s. His wikipedia page does not do justice to his violent craziness, such as setting himself on fire. Probably too old these days to handle Smith or Romo, without a blow torch and a log splitting maul.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 08/04/2008 - 9:10pm

Excellent. Any extra advantage is a welcome one.

by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Wed, 08/06/2008 - 1:59am

On a related (sort of) note, Brandon Marshall has been suspended for 3 games by the NFL (link):

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? As Marshall's lawyer states, there is no cause for discipline in this case. Marshall wasn't convicted, wasn't even charged with any crimes.

To suspend him for potentially three crucial games and severely affect the entire AFC playoff race on such "evidence" is patently ridiculous.

Look, Goodell, we get it. You want to improve the league's image--that's an admirable goal. But don't forget that in America we have a legal system that frowns upon this sort of thing. I mean, the fact that the punisher is also the arbiter can't possibly give Marshall access to a fair and speedy trial. If these things were handled more like baseball's salary arbitration, justice might actually be served.

I'm not excusing Marshall's actions in the least. He has been immature and does need to improve his behavior. I do, however, believe that he has a right to a fair hearing at the very least. I look for the Broncos to hotly dispute this suspension as well as the NFLPA--and I expect them to fail, due to the basically illegal nature of the system.

by Criag (not verified) :: Wed, 08/06/2008 - 7:32pm

Big break for the Chargers. They don't have to face the #1 WR in weeks 1 and 2 now.