Looking back at "He Hate Me" Rod Smart of the Carolina Panthers

Thanks for checking out my Panther Lair look back at “He Hate Me” Rod Smart of the Carolina Panthers. This is the latest in my looking back series where I write about some notable Carolina Panthers from years past.

Rod Smart will always be known to football fans as “He Hate Me” the name he wore on his XFL jersey in the ill fated Vince McMahon foray into the world of professional football.

But Rod Smart was a pretty good special team’s football player for the Carolina Panthers and played in Super Bowl loss to the New England Spymasters and Tom Brady. Smart was possibly the best special team’s tackler in the history of the Carolina Panthers and was also a good kick returner. Rod Smart had 41 special team’s tackles with the Carolina Panthers and returned kicks for 1.731 yards with one touchdown.

Rod Smart was smart in creating the “He Hate Me” name which called attention to himself and got him into the NFL. But Smart was a hard working good producing player for the Carolina Panthers once he got there.

These days Rod Smart is an actor trying to make it big in that field But we Carolina Panthers fans will always remember “He Hate Me” as a ball player who helped the team to their only Super Bowl.

Rae Carruth and Fred Lane made the Carolina Panthers very aware of Domestic Violence

Slideshow: Jerry Richardson owner of the Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers caught some flack for playing Greg Hardy in the opener despite his conviction on domestic violence related charges. But owner Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers may be the most domestic violence aware team in the NFL.

The Panthers have some history with domestic violence because of Rae Carruth and Fred Lane. Fred Lane was a member of the Colts when he was murdered by his wife but he had been a Carolina Panther before that.

Rae Carruth was a member of the Carolina Panthers when he had his girlfriend murdered for not aborting their unborn child. The child lived with some severe handicaps but the child’s mother Cherica Adams died from the shooting.

For some time after Rae Carruth the Panthers seemed to go out of their way to avoid players with a shady past. The Panthers really wanted to avoid any off the field troubles like with Carruth.

Despite Jerry Richardson’s condescending talk to some NFL players during the lockout I always thought he was a nice guy. The way he treated the Olsen family when Greg’s son was born with heart problems proves that.

Seeing Jerry Richardson tear up when asked about domestic violence I felt sorry for the owner of the Carolina Panthers. He and the team caught a lot of flack over the whole Greg Hardy situation.

Its hard to blame Jerry Richardson, Ron Rivera and company from wanting Greg Hardy on the field. They pay him a lot of money and in return he is one heck of a football player with rare skills.

The bad timing of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson incidents really got the public fired up or Greg Hardy would still be playing at least until his trial is done. And people who said the Panthers condone domestic violence because Greg Hardy played are just dense. The Panthers were trying to do what their fans want them to do, win football games.

Yes I am a Panthers fan and blogger so may be jaded. But I think ripping on Jerry Richardson over Greg Hardy is unfair. I do think the Panthers should have cut ties with Hardy when the incident happened or not at all.

Greg Hardy takes a leave of absence from the NFL

Slideshow: Greg Hardy steps away from the NFL

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is taking a leave of absence from the NFL until his trial is over. Greg Hardy had no choice but to take a leave of absence if he wanted to get paid his full contract. Hardy will be paid his regular salary while awaiting his jury trial.

Greg Hardy has already been convicted by a judge but asked for a jury trial. So until Hardy’s trial is over he is done with the Carolina Panthers. The whole Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson and now Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer who was arrested today for domestic violence has got much public opinion going against the NFL. The fact that Dwyer got in trouble for domestic violence while all this is in the news shows what kind of idiot he is, if he is guilty.

Off the field the Carolina Panthers will get some love from fans who think Greg Hardy should be punished. They will also get less flack from sponsors who may have been ready to complain.

On the field the Carolina Panthers will miss Greg Hardy a lot. Hardy has skills and a motor like few other defensive ends in the NFL. Hardy is an elite NFL pass rusher and solid against the run. Perhaps Mario Addison can replace Greg Hardy but I don’t think so. The Panthers do get Frank Alexander back from suspension in week 5 and hopefully rookie Kony Ealy is learning quickly how to be a NFL defensive end.

The Panthers have enough good players on defense that the loss of any one guy not named Kuechly won’t kill them. But it sure would have been nice to have Greg Hardy this year as the defense actually looks better than it did last year.

With any luck Greg Hardy will get his affairs in order and be back with the Carolina Panthers at the end of this season. But honestly I don’t see anything short of an innocent verdict in court allowing that to happen. In all probability Greg Hardy has played his last down as a Carolina Panther.

Jerry Kramer passed over for Canton yet again

Slideshow: Jerry Kramer was a key part of Vince Lombardi's offense

Jerry Kramer deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame and he deserves to be in there now. Jerry Kramer has the credentials to be in Canton. Five time first-team All Pro, he made three Pro Bowls, is a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL 50th Anniversary Team. Jerry Kramer is the only player from the 50th Anniversary Team to not be enshrined in Canton.

The Green Bay Packers are very well represented in Canton already but do you punish a man for being on the best NFL dynasty teams of all time? Jerry Kramer was a key offensive guard in Vince Lombardi’s run to daylight scheme and even doubled as a place kicker from time to time.

Jerry Kramer’s book “Instant Replay” is to this day the best book I ever read about the NFL and believe me I read a lot of them. Jerry Kramer can only be voted into the Hall of Fame now if the veteran’s committee nominates him for a vote. They did not do so for consideration for a vote in the 2015 class.

The NFL Hall of Fame is getting to be more of a popularity contest than a place for the best of the best. Jerry Kramer was a better offensive lineman than many already enshrined in Canton Ohio.

Those Green Bay Packers offenses were so good because of Jerry Kramer and the rest of the offensive linemen. They didn’t razzle dazzle they just played straight forward fundamental football and outworked everybody else.

Jerry Kramer took a heck of a beating in his NFL career and remember they didn’t’ make much money in those days. Kramer and other NFL players had to work other jobs in the off season to even support their families.

I hate to be morbid but Jerry Kramer isn’t getting any younger and he should be put in the NFL Hall of Fame while he can enjoy it. I would like to see Kramer and other old school players get more consideration against players of the modern era. They built the NFL and deserve some love in Canton for that.

Fan Poll are the Dallas Cowboys still America's Team?

Slideshow: The Dallas Cowboys

Are the Dallas Cowboys still “America’s Team” ? The Dallas Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl since 1996 but they still have millions of fans. Jerry Jones is the most inept General Manger in sports but the Cowboys still move the needle. So I say yes the Dallas Cowboys are still America’s team.

The Dallas Cowboys became good and popular right about the time the NFL got huge in America. If you don’t have a home city team you tend to follow the team you see on television all the time or you did back then.

There was no NFL Network, ESPN or Sunday Ticket. You got 3 channels if you were lucky and the Dallas Cowboys were on television all the time. They were on television because they were winning at the right time.

The Dallas Cowboys were the good guys in white with Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Ed “Too Tall” Jones Randy White and dozens of other house hold names from the late 1960’s into the 1980’s.

So millions of football fans grew up as Dallas Cowboys (like me) because their parents were Cowboys fans. That is hard to let go of especially if you don’t have a NFL team near you.

Then the Dallas Cowboys went into decline and Jerry Jones bought the team and fired Tom Landry is a classless way. Landry needed to go but Jones bungled the firing and cost them some fans like myself.

But most of those fans came back when the Dallas Cowboys marched out one of the best NFL dynasties ever in the 1990’s. So you still have those leftover Dallas Cowboys fans from two eras’ that raised their kids on “America’s

Team”.

Many so called NFL fans are bandwagon fans so you see the Super Bowl winner every year gain fans and sell merchandise. But the millions of Dallas Cowboys fans stay true to their team despite Jerry Jones running it into the ground.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are really the only competition to the Dallas Cowboys claim as “America’s Team”. The Steelers like the Cowboys have fans everywhere plus they have what I think are the greatest team colors in the NFL so they sell merchandise. But for now I think the Dallas Cowboys are still “America’s Team”.

Preview why the Carolina Panthers will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers

Slideshow: Mike Mitchell returns to BOA to take on Cam Newton

Thanks for reading my review of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Carolina Panthers. The 1-1 Steelers come rolling into Bank of America Stadium to take on the 2-0 Carolina Panthers on Sunday night.

The Steelers have improved their offense a little this year but struggle at pass protection. Big Ben has been sacked 5 times in two games this season. But when given time to throw he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. The Steelers have a good running game going now as well.

The Steelers run their 3-4 blitzing defense and expect them to try to confuse the mostly young offensive line of the Carolina Panthers. Former Panther Mike Mitchell is probably geeked out to be playing in Bank of America on Sunday night against his old team.

The Steelers defense has been a little soft against the run this year which plays into what the Carolina Panthers want to do anyway. But with Jonathan Stewart the only completely healthy running back (for a change) the Panthers may struggle to keep their run game going.

The Panthers have to pass protect better than they did against the Lions or the Steelers will feast on Cam Newton. Look for another big does of Greg Olsen as Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin also try to get their groove on. Benjamin looked like Brandon :LaFell for a while last week before making a great sideline catch.

The Panthers defense will try to pressure Big Ben with the front four. The linebackers will be better suited to try to stop the Steelers tight ends which the Panthers struggle at doing at times.

My prediction for the Steelers at the Panthers game is that Carolina wins 20 to 13. This Panthers defense is better than last year and I don’t think the Steelers can keep them from getting five or six sacks on Sunday night.

A 2nd possible child abuse case against Adrian Peterson

Slideshow: Adrian Peterson involved in 2nd child abuse case?

Adrian Peterson is being investigated in another alleged child abuse case. He has been indicted on charges of injuring one four year old son with a switch requiring medical care for the boy.

Now Adrian Peterson is being investigated for allegedly hitting ANOTHER four year old son in the eye and causing a scar. This son is from another mother than the son he is said to have used a switch on. Read more about the second child abuse allegation against Adrian Peterson here.

The NFL will almost certainly step in and suspend Adrian Peterson now because the public will demand it. The Minnesota Vikings sat Peterson out of one game but intended to play him next weekend.

The NFL can take a lot of bad publicity but enough is enough. Expect them to come down hard on Adrian Peterson and probably Greg Hardy who was sat down by the Carolina Panthers last week.

The NFL HAS to take a hard stance against domestic violence and child abuse by its players. Adrian Peterson may even have played his last down in the NFL. If he is guilty of both allegations (no charges filed in 2nd one yet) then the NFL may make an example out of him.

If one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL gets a lifetime ban that will send a clear message to other players in the league. Its too early to say if Adrian Peterson faces a lifetime ban but no player is more important than the league and I am sure NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is getting tired of this.

I just wonder what else is going to come to light about Adrian Peterson and other NFL players now. The media is in a feeding frenzy and things will probably come out about other players.  

Can Mario Addison replace Greg Hardy?

Slideshow: Can Marion Addison replace Greg Hardy?

Can Mario Addison replace Greg Hardy if the Panthers or NFL suspends him? Addison sure stepped up against the Detroit Lions with 2.5 sacks in relief of the Kraken. But one game does not a player make.

Marion Addison went from undrafted free agent to practice squad player to journeyman defensive end so far in his career. But Addison seems to be a hard worker and he gets better every year.

Don’t expect Mario Addison to be the next Greg Hardy but he can be a capable replacement. Don’t forget the Carolina Panthers have a very good defensive line around Addison to help relieve the pressure off of him.

At 6ft 3 and 260 pounds I don’t know if Addison can be a full time replacement for Greg Hardy. Addison is more of a situational speed rusher type who may struggle in the run stopping game.

Of course the Carolina Panthers really want Kony Ealy the 2nd round pick out of Missouri to step up to replace Greg Hardy if needed. Ealy was inactive against Tampa Bay but did play against the Lions but didn’t have any tackles. Ealy has really nice size at 6ft 7 but is raw.

Frank Alexander will be back for the Carolina Panthers in week five after finishing up his own suspension. Alexander could start for the Panthers in a pinch. Of course we Panthers homers hope that Greg Hardy will be back and playing for the Panthers this season.

This defense of the Carolina Panthers looks better than it did last year due to improved secondary play. Of course its hard to really tell after just two games but the Panthers defense has the potential to be the best in the NFL. 

Free week 3 NFL Game Predictions

Slideshow: Week 3 office football picks

Thanks for reading my free week 3 NFL office pool picks for the 2014 season. These free NFL game predictions are suitable for your office football pool since I don’t predict point spread games. I went 8-7 not counting the Monday Night Game in week two which brings my record to 18-13 at predicting NFL games this season. So maybe pick the opposite of what I do?

Thursday Night Game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Atlanta Falcons

I really thought the Buccaneers would be better but not so far. My week 3 office football pick is for the Atlanta Falcons to win 27 to 17.

Week 3 NFL Sunday Game Predictions

San Diego Chargers at the Buffalo Bills

This may be the game of the day with both of these teams looking improved this year. Due to the west coast heading east thing I pick the Bills to win 20 to 17.

Dallas Cowboys at the St. Louis Rams

The Cowboys figured out if they run the ball they can win games. The problem is that the Rams have a good defense. I like the Cowboys to win 17 to 13 over the Rams in week 3.

Houston Texans at the New York Giants

The Texans are 2-0 and the Giants suck out loud. This is the NFL and anything can happen but I like Houston to win 14 to 10.

Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles

The Redskins may be without RGlll which could be good for them. But I like the Eagles to win 28 to 20 no matter who QB’s for the Skins.

Minnesota Vikings at the New Orleans Saints

Adrian Peterson is expected to play but the 0-2 Saints are primed to whip somebody with a switch. Saints win 35 to 17.

Tennessee Titans at the Cincinnati Bengals

I like the Titans this year but the Bengals are pretty good. My week 3 office football pick is the Bengals win 20 to 17.

Baltimore Ravens at the Cleveland Browns

The Browns showed some signs of life last week but the Ravens are looking good. I like the Ravens to win 23 to 20.

Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions

I like the Lions to bounce back and knock off the Packers 24 to 21.

Indianapolis Colts at the Jacksonville Jaguars

My week 3 NFL game pick is the Colts win 27 to 21.

Oakland Raiders at the New England Patriots

I like the Patriots at home 24 to 17.

San Francisco 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals

I like the Cardinals to win this one at home 17 to 14.

Denver Broncos at the Seattle Seahawks

All the talk of Super Bowl revenge is crazy a regular season game is hardly equal to losing the big game. Seattle is going to win 24 to 21 anyway.

Kansas City Chiefs at the Miami Dolphins

The Chiefs just can’t get healthy and the Dolphins are just a bad team. Coin flip says the Dolphins win 13 to 10.

Pittsburgh Steelers at the Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are riding high at 2-0 but their offensive line will cost them a game sooner or later. Not this week though. Carolina wins 24 to 14.

Week 3 Monday Night Game NFL Prediction

Chicago Bears at the New York Jets

I like the Jets at home to win 23 to 20.