Everyone remembers Jake Delhomme’s horror show in last year’s playoffs, where he accounted for six turnovers in a 33-13 loss to the Cardinals (on his birthday, no less). Delhomme was rewarded for the collapse with a mammoth, $42.5 million extension in the offseason, which made little sense then and even less now after Delhomme rang in the season with four more picks against the Eagles in the opener.
If that seems galling to Panthers fans, imagine how “thrilled” Steve Smith would be. The player who, just three years ago, was considered the best wideout in the game (this is when Randy Moss was still languishing in Oakland), now has to deal with Captain Interception firing the ball “toward” him. Using our Future Glasses, we can tell you that this ends in a season with approximately 1100 receiving yards and 4 TDs, and Smith kind of sees that coming too.
So after one especially egregious pick on Sunday, Delhomme took it upon himself to apologize to Smith. In retrospect, that may not have been wise.
The video would have gone here, but since the NFL are bastards, they’ve yanked it from YouTube and we’re back to you taking our word for it via transcript. From SB NATION:
Delhomme: “I apologize, bro.”
Smith: “Hey, I know you feel like crap. I mean, you’re not a very handsome guy anyway, so. But, the performer, the quarterback … I never really liked you as a quarterback. But as a person, that’s who I love. I love you as a person.”
Delhomme: “I appreciate it. [Inaudible] I just didn’t get enough on that damn ball. I knew where I was throwing it, I just threw it too high.”
Look, it’s pretty obvious that Smith was (mostly) kidding, seeing as how he wasn’t going through any of the violent histrionics that usually accompany one of his temper tantrums (as Ken Lucas knows all too well) (oh and also Anthony Bright).
Sure, you can parse it and interpret it as “thanks for apologizing because I want to beat your face in with a tire iron right now you noodle-armed traitor,” but again, Smith wasn’t actually angry here. If anything, it’s almost like a roast-style joke, and as Jeffrey Ross always says (also the title of his new book!), “I only roast the ones I love.” Wait, sorry, just because he’s always shilling that book of his doesn’t mean we should too. Never mind.
Either way, Delhomme’s career in Carolina can’t last more than another season or two, right? He’s basically telling Smith that he’s losing his accuracy here, and while we don’t expect the 64-interceptions-per-year pace to hold up, we do expect a lot more bad turnovers, the ones where fans think “you know, a good quarterback makes that throw” then start gazing dreamily at Tim Tebow. The release is coming. The only question is how much of that contract the Panthers brass feel like eating.