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Steve Smith: Game official was "garbage"

By Joseph Person
jperson@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers wideout Steve Smith took responsibility for his dropped touchdown pass in Sunday's 22-6 loss at Arizona -- and then took repeated shots Monday at one of the game officials who worked the game.

Smith was upset with several calls and non-calls in the defensive backfield, saying the Cardinals' coverage crossed the line from physical to "molesting."

"I got a (pass interference) penalty, which is 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," Smith said. "I would say pretty much, I take that one on the chin and just say it was me. I've got to play better."

Smith, who was covered by cornerback Patrick Peterson most of the game, said he had a conversation during the game with umpire Dan Ferrell about the Cardinals' tactics.

"I was told by the referee -- whatever judge he was, No. 64 (Ferrell). He told me on my route (that) I felt like I got held, where (Peterson) had the back of my jersey and used that to slingshot his way through and bat the ball down. He said he grabbed my jersey, he saw it, but he didn't think it was enough that changed the course of the route," Smith said.

"I've only been playing football for a little bit, just picked it up. So I said OK. I really believe years past I would've went off. But that's what he felt and that's what he said and he repeatedly explained it to me."

But Smith wasn't done.

About the Peterson pass breakup described above, Smith said: "It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby -- in pretty much every other sport but in Arizona yesterday. But then when I pushed off it was pass interference."

Smith is aware his comments about officials could draw a fine from commissioner Roger Goodell.

"To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger wants to fine me he can. But I really think that referee probably was the sorriest referee that I have ever met," Smith said.

"When I dove for the first down (and) he was standing right there, he didn't even acknowledge -- he received a check that day and I hope he feels good. He was terrible. He was garbage."

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