Panthers’ Smith calls NFL umpire ‘garbage’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is still upset with the officiating in Carolina’s 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, calling a member of Sunday’s crew “garbage.”

The 34-year-old Smith took aim Monday at umpire Dan Ferrell, saying Ferrell was “the sorriest referee I’ve ever met.”

Smith added that Ferrell “received a check that day and I hope he feels good, because he was terrible.”

Smith acknowledged his comments would likely draw a fine from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but added that he doesn’t care.

Smith said, “To be honest, I make enough money where if Roger were to fine me, he can.”

Ferrell is a veteran official. He has been refereeing NFL games since 2003 and Sunday was the 156th career game he’s officiated, according to Pro Football Reference.

Smith wasn’t thinking about Ferrell’s credentials on Monday.

The receiver was upset over several calls, including one where he was flagged for offensive pass interference and another where he felt Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson grabbed the back of his jersey on a route and used that momentum to “slingshot” past him to break up a pass.

Smith said Ferrell explained to him it wasn’t enough to warrant a pass interference penalty.

“It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby — in pretty much every other sport but in Arizona” on Sunday, Smith said. “But then when I pushed off it was pass interference.”

Smith also pointed to a play where he dove with the ball outstretched beyond the first down marker but was ruled down before the yardstick. Panthers coach Ron Rivera challenged the play and officials overruled the call and granted Carolina a first down.

It was an aggravating day all around for Smith.

He dropped two passes from Cam Newton, including one in the end zone that should have been a touchdown. He was limited to 60 yards on four catches.

Despite his comments about the officiating, Smith took blame for the loss, saying, “I wasn’t focused in.”

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