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Panthers' Smith needs no apology from Saints' Harper for late hit

  • By Marc Sessler NFL.com
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Steve Smith's experiencing a revival this season behind the play of rookie Cam Newton, and the Panthers wideout isn't about to let some rough play get him down.

Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed Thursday that safety Roman Harper was fined for his late hit on Smith after the wideout's first-quarter, 54-yard touchdown catch in the Panthers' 30-27 loss.

Harper tagged Smith with force just after the receiver crossed the goal line, a hit that resulted in a tussle between the teams. ESPN reported Thursday that Harper's fine stands at $15,000.

Harper isn't about to apologize, either.

"My reaction is a smile on my face," Harper said of the fine on Thursday. "That's all you get out of me. They are in my pocket, what can I say? ... It was worth it. The NFL got the point, I got the point."

 And, according to The Charlotte Observer, Smith couldn't care less.

"You best believe I'm not looking for an apology," Smith said Thursday. "I'm not looking for one, don't think I deserve one. I didn't lose any sleep over it, won't lose any sleep over it. And when we play them down there I'm not going to walk up to him and say, 'Hey, I expect an apology, or can we make amends?' It's football.

"But if going up and catching a ball and scoring is disrespectful, I have no control over that. The object of the game when Cam threw the ball was for me to catch it and do the best I can with it, and that's what I did. If he wasn't a fan of it, I understand. Some people like blue cheese, some people like ranch. I'm more of a ranch guy. He's obviously more of a blue cheese guy."

Hard to tell where Smith's traveling with the salad-dressing riff, but it's clear this formerly agitated wideout's got his moxie back. Newton's thrown for an astonishing 322 yards per game and big chunks of that have gone to Smith, who leads the team with 609 yards and three scores. 

Late hits in the end zone? Smith will take that all day long.

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