Despite initially trying to blame his broken arm on roughhousing children—children!—it has become apparent that Carolina's All-Pro wideout actually injured himself trying to take over an adult rec league. That may be the saddest thing ever.
Initial reports of Smith's injury said that he broke it playing impromptu defensive back while working with kids at his youth football camp on Sunday. Except ... his youth football camp ended on Saturday. It didn't take football sleuths much digging to learn that he actually got hurt at a local Charlotte YMCA and that he wasn't playing against kids. And it wasn't the first time he'd been there either. But that's not the worst part.
Like all pro athletes, such rough and tumble offseason activities are prohibited by his contract—hence the initial fibbing. But perhaps it was also an attempt to hide the fact that Smith—again, a professional football player who has succeeded in the NFL for many years—felt it necessary to recruit other pro teammates to join him in (and thus dominate) a group of easily-winded desk jockeys in an over-30 amateur league.
Former Panthers quarterback Josh McCown, reached at his offseason home in Texas, said he had played in a few games with Smith at the Siskey Y, but wasn't there Sunday. He said he played a few games - mostly as a receiver - grudgingly after being invited by Smith and felt bad about being an NFL player competing with the weekend warriors.
That report also jibes with this email we got from a tipster, who says Smith has been in the league for "months":
My brother's team played against his. #89 signed up covertly under the name "Stephon Smith" and paid his dues, then was placed on a roster. Apparently that roster was full of duds with no servicable QB, and his team lost its first game. Embarrassed, Smith "recruited" QB Josh McCown and WR Kenny Moore to play with him.
Since McCown and Moore have joined the team they have pretty much dominated.
Oh, Steve. One the one hand, the guy's competitive fire burns bright 12 months a year. But on the other hand ... oh, Steve. Using Josh McCown in a Quixotic ploy to destroy rec leaguers? Have you no decency, sir?
Evidence mounts that Steve Smith broke his arm playing adult flag football [ProFootballTalk]
Panthers star Steve Smith breaks arm, likely to miss training camp [Charlotte Observer]