David Newton | ESPN.com
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith wasn’t happy that he dropped a couple of passes, including one that would have been a first-quarter touchdown, in Sunday’s 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
But he was even less happy with umpire Dan Ferrell, claiming that the official missed at least one pass interference call and refused to give him the proper spot late in the third quarter.
“To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger [Goodell] wants to fine me, he can,” Smith said Monday. “I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee I have ever met.”
To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger [Goodell] wants to fine me, he can. I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee I have ever met. … No. 64, he was garbage.
— Steve Smith on umpire Dan Ferrell
Smith confirmed he was referring to Ferrell, who wears No. 64.
“No. 64, he was garbage,” Smith said. “There is a lot of things I would let him hold, but nothing valuable.”
The NFL typically fines players and coaches for being critical of officials, so Smith understood his comments might come with consequences. His references to Ferrell came up when discussing a play in which he felt the Arizona defender interfered by grabbing his jersey.
“No. 64 told me on my route, I felt like I got held where he had the back of my jersey,” Smith said. “[The defender] used that to slingshot his way through and bat the ball down.
“[Ferrell] said he grabbed my jersey. He saw it, but he didn’t think it was enough to change the course of the route. I’ve only been playing football for a little bit. Just picked it up. I said, ‘OK.'”
Smith said in years past, he would have “went off” in that situation. He said Ferrell continued to explain the play to him repeatedly during the game.
“One time we were on defense and he was standing on the sideline and he decided to continue the conversation I never started,” Smith said. “I said, ‘OK.’ It was pretty interesting.”
But Smith was adamant that pass interference should have been called.
“It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby, in pretty much every other sport but Arizona yesterday,” he said. “But then when I pushed off, it was pass interference.”
Smith was called for offensive pass interference late in the third quarter as the Panthers (1-3) were trying to overcome a deficit. It was the same play on which Carolina starting left guard Amini Silatolu went down with a torn ACL in his right knee that will sideline him the rest of the season.
One play later, quarterback Cam Newton was sacked for a safety that gave Arizona a 12-6 lead.
On Carolina’s next possession, Smith caught a third-down pass in which he stretched for the first-down marker. The officials ruled him down a yard short after a 6-yard gain.
The Panthers challenged and the play was reversed, giving Smith eight yards and a first down.
“When I dove for the first down, he was standing right there,” Smith said of Ferrell. “He didn’t even acknowledge that. He received a check that day. I hope he feels good, because he was terrible.”
Smith acknowledged he had a bad game as well, taking full blame for the loss because of the dropped touchdown pass on Carolina’s opening series.
“My dropped pass cost us the game,” Smith said. “I ran a slant; should have caught that. I didn’t. I got a PI [pass interference] penalty, which was very interesting. I got leg humped and hugged a few times.
“Being a pretty good flag football player, I think I got my flag pulled on my jersey a few times. I would say pretty much I take that one on the chin and say, ‘That’s me.'”
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