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Steve Smith regrets public challenge of Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith doesn't regret his decision to get in Cam Newton's face during the quarterback's pity party last Thursday night. He does regret making the media aware of it.

"I shouldn't have said anything," Smith said Wednesday, via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer. "So that really falls on me. Hey, sometimes when you try to help, you do more harm than good."

Smith told reporters last week that he "lit into" Newton for not standing and watching backup quarterback Derek Anderson after Newton was pulled late in the Panthers' 36-7 loss to the New York Giants. According to Smith, he approached Newton and said, "You can get some mental reps or you can sit on that bench and sulk."

Smith's comments had the unintended effect of igniting a debate about Newton's leadership abilities with the Panthers. Luckily for Carolina, the antics of replacement officials in the days that followed largely muted the conversation.

Smith said his relationship with Newton is strong, and he looks at the QB as a "big little brother." Newton seconded that Wednesday in his first chat with the media since the comments went public.

"Steve Smith talks to me every single day," Newton said, via The Associated Press. "And obviously it's a teaching moment, so to just single something out like that is kind of bogus for me.

"I look up to Smitty as if he's my big brother, and he has a very big impact on how I play and just having a mind-set because he has done it and has lived it."

Newton has proved in the past -- both on the college and pro level -- that he can rise above scrutiny. A big game on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons can go a long way in putting this latest drama to rest.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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