Panther Tracks

Steve Smith and Michael Irvin go 1-on-1, for real, on NFL Network

Former Panthers star Steve Smith got into a heated exchange with former Cowboys star Michael Irvin on NFL Network Thursday night before the Ravens-Bengals game.
Former Panthers star Steve Smith got into a heated exchange with former Cowboys star Michael Irvin on NFL Network Thursday night before the Ravens-Bengals game. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Former Panthers receiver Steve Smith has not lost a step.

On NFL Network’s pregame show Thursday before Ravens-Bengals, the hosts were discussing the Ravens’ receivers when Michael Irvin suggested that Michael Crabtree was the best receiver that Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has played with since Anquan Boldin in 2012. Of course, Smith -- a likely future NFL Hall of Famer -- played in Baltimore after Boldin. Smith was sitting one person away from Irvin.

Smith had 2,534 receiving yards in three seasons with the Ravens. Boldin also played three years in Baltimore and had 2,645 yards.

And Smith took a whole lot of umbrage with Irvin’s remarks.

“So you’re telling me they haven’t had a wide receiver since Anquan?” Smith said.

Irvin tried to soften his position, saying that Smith had some injuries in Baltimore that kept him off the field.

“You played there,” Irvin said, “and you got hurt, so, and (you) had to go through it, because you talked about it. Those injuries, I’m with you on that.”

Then, Smith turned into Agent 89. And he turned his ire onto the guy Cowboys fans call “The Playmaker.” Irivn has three Super Bowl rings (You may also remember Smith threatened to kick Irvin’s tail last year for making fun of his pants).

“Yeah, I went through the injuries, but Anquan wasn’t the only baller on there,” Smith said. “I understand you have the rings, but I passed you statistically years ago.”

Smith looked directly at Irvin, who reminded the hosts that he has multiple Super Bowl rings.

But Smith wasn’t done.

“I concur and I agree with your rings,” Smith said. “But at the same time, there ain’t no route I could run that you hoped you could run. I got a doctorate in route running. You got an associate’s degree, player. That’s community college.”

In case you were wondering, Irvin played 12 years and had 750 catches for 11,904 yards and 65 TDs. He is an NFL Hall of Famer.

Smith played 16 seasons and had 1,031 catches for 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns. If you remove the final four seasons of his career, and stop him at 12 seasons to match Irvin, Smith would have 872 catches for 11,452 yards and 63 touchdowns.

Here’s the exchange. Watch

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