Steve Smith has been an NFL wide receiver since 2001. Over the past 12 years, Smith has not only earned the reputation of being a great football player, but also a great trash-talker. Apparently Aqib Talib had yet to receive the message before the game between Carolina and New England on Monday Night Football.
In a contest which pitted the injury-riddled Patriots against the surging Panthers, Smith was able to showcase his two primary talents early on. On the Panthers's second play of the game, quarterback Cam Newton connected with Smith for a 42 yard completion, much to the chagrin of Patriots cornerback Talib. The embarrassment would continue for Talib as Newton completed a pass to Smith just three plays later, resulting in a first down in Patriots territory.
So how did Talib deal with the embarrassment of being outplayed by Smith during the first drive of the game? By grabbing Smith's foot and holding on for dear life, of course. (One can only imagine that Talib was thinking, "If he can't run, he can't score on me.")
Talib and Smith would continue their antics as the Panthers neared the red zone, with more pushing and shoving between the two which had to be broken up by teammates and officials.
This type of play from these two individuals should come as no surprise. As previously stated, Smith is known for his trash-talk. However, Smith is also known for just being an aggressive dude, having broken the noses of two teammates in the past. Talib is no push-over, though; The Patriots's cornerback was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for shooting at his sister's boyfriend, charges which were later dismissed.
Unfortunately for Talib, he lost on three accounts Monday night. 1) He was burned by Steve Smith on the field, who led the Panthers in receiving yards; 2) Talib's team lost the game; and 3) Smith got the best of Talib off the field after the game.
When talking to a reporter after the Panthers's victory, Smith gave some parting training advice to Talib in response to Talib not being able to play the entire game: "Ice up, son. Ice up." And once again, the insults would not end there. In a post-game interview with USA Today Sports, Smith stated that Talib had become "Just another notch on the bedpost," which Wiktionary defines as a phrase deriving "From the practice of keeping track of the number of one's sexual liaisons by carving notches into the post of one's bed."
I'm not sure if that is he exact meaning Smith had in mind by using the phrase, but if so, one could guess that cornerbacks will afford Smith a bit more personal space in the future.[Image via Wikimedia Commons]