by: Kristian Winfield
Charlotte, NC – Flag Football is supposed to be a way to enjoy the competitive nature of football without the physicality and risk of injury.
This was NOT the case for 4-time Pro Bowl selection Steve Smith who broke his left arm for the second time in 6 months on Sunday while playing flag football with his youth football camp in Charlotte, NC. The first time he injured his arm, he broke his wrist after absorbing a huge hit from Michael Johnson of the New York Giants and scoring the touchdown. While playing flag football, a bad pass caused Smith to hit the ground awkwardly, and when he put his left arm out, something snapped.
“They were messing around, the ball went over his head and he slipped,” said Derrick Fox, Steve Smith’s agent “He put his arm out to brace himself. When he did he felt a sharp pain. He went in [Sunday] afternoon to have an X-ray and it showed a break.”
Smith had surgery to have small metal screws placed in his arm and, luckily, did not injure his write like he did last time. But this injury not only affects Smith, but his team as well.
Quarterbacking: During the offseason, the Panthers released 7-year quarterback Jake Delhomme, moving Matt Moore to the starting position and second round draft pick Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame to the backup spot. Smith’s injury was before training camp started and is expected to miss entire camp, thus costing himself valuable practice time with these quarterbacks who have not trained with him before.
Mobility: Steve Smith is well-known for his uncanny ability to stiff arm any defender coming at him. With this injury, he may be temporarily incapable of protecting his left side. In addition, he has to be wary of falling to the ground with his left arm out, as most receivers instinct directs them to do.
As a part of Smith’s contract, the Panthers have banned him from playing football outside of any team related activities. His punishment for playing flag football may be way less severe because he will be back for the season opener.
“Steve talked to me and he feels terrible about it,” Hurney said. “Now his focus is on rehabilitating process and getting back as quickly as he can.”
Smith led the NFL in receiving yards, catches, and touchdown catches in 2005, and had 65 catches for 982 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games last season. He ranks first in Panther history with 58 touchdowns and 32 games of 100 or more yards receiving at 31 years old.
“I’m not trying to play doctor, but I don’t think he’ll miss any games due to this injury,” Fox told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Hopefully he’ll be 100% for the season opener on September 12 against, ironically, the New York Giants.