Steve Smith apologizes to Panthers
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith returned to practice on Monday and publicly apologized for punching cornerback Ken Lucas last week, an attack that got him suspended by the team for two games.
"I'm not going to get into who's right, who's wrong. I'm completely wrong," Smith said. "It was an asinine decision. And I'll move forward better than I probably have ever had to. It's the first time in my life that I really haven't forgiven myself."
Smith spoke to reporters after the team's morning practice in Spartanburg, S.C., but did not take questions.
"I'm a fallen man. I'm a man that made a mistake," he said. "I plan to mend the bridges that I've burned and help rebuild the bridge, if I need to, all by myself."
Smith punched Lucas during a practice break on Friday, while the cornerback was resting on one knee. Lucas suffered a broken nose and said Monday that he'll be out up to three weeks.
"Sometimes when emotions are involved, you do stupid things. … Being a Christian, I have a forgiving heart and I'm willing to move forward to help this team win this year," said Lucas.
It was the second time in his career that Smith, 29, lashed out at a teammate. He missed one game in 2002 after an altercation with Anthony Bright during a film session.
He rejoined the team Sunday night and apologized in a team meeting.
"He was very remorseful, and we accepted it," safety Chris Harris said. "We're moving on. We've got our eyes looking forward."
The receiver will be able to practise with the team but will miss their first two games, against San Diego and Chicago.
Smith has caught 273 passes and scored 27 touchdowns over the past three seasons with Carolina.
With files from the Associated Press