Panthers HC Ron Rivera recently spent time with Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, according to ESPN.com's David Newton. Rivera, took a few pointers that might help his team succeed in 2014 despite a shaved roster. Rivera used one of those lessons to indirectly throw some shade at Smith. "This guy may jack the car up a 10th of a second faster, but he doesn't work as well together with others," Rivera said, "while this guy may be a 10th of a second slower, yet he works well with everybody. We're the same way. It's about, 'How does this guy fit in the locker room?'" Reported by NFL.com
As NFL.com notes, though not named, it's hard not to read that quote as a shot at Smith, considering the Panthers dumped the veteran receiver after it was leaked that he was becoming a locker room distraction. ... Again, the repeated jabs at Smith
are hard to understand, especially given Smith's high-strung nature. Also given the fact that Baltimore, Smith's new team
, will play Carolina this season in a game that becomes of greater interest every time Rivera opens his mouth.