Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is trying to diffuse any potential controversy involving him and rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Smith, a four-time Pro Bowl player, said Wednesday that his sideline comments to Clausen during the Panthers' 20-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend have been overblown by the media.
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Television cameras caught Smith walking over to Clausen, who was talking with an assistant coach on the bench, and screaming at the rookie.
Smith walked away, then returned and said something else before being escorted away by tight end Jeff King. At that point, a frustrated Smith threw down his cup of Gatorade.
"It was said that I was just about to 'go off,' and I wasn't," Smith said after Wednesday's practice. "I thought it was interesting because here, I was obviously agitated and frustrated, but sometimes people think they know me better than I know myself. I think that's a joke, and I think the people that reported it are jokes."