Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panthers star receiver says he will be ready to go

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers receiver Steve Smith said his left knee feels "fine" and he expects to play in Sunday's NFC division playoff game against the 49ers. He sprained a ligament in Week 16 and sat out the season finale. Carolina then had a first-round bye.

Smith has been coy all week. On Wednesday, he said there was a 71 percent chance he would play. On Thursday, it was 57. On Friday, he looked at his jersey number and said "89 percent" before adding, "I just randomly pick numbers." He said he went 57 percent Thursday after winning rock-paper-scissors with offensive lineman Jeff Byers, who wanted 62 percent.

"See, I have kids, and he doesn't," Smith said. "I'm well-experienced for rock-paper-scissors."

Chargers: Center Nick Hardwick, who sustained a concussion Sunday, was cleared to practice. But his status hasn't been determined. Also, running back Ryan Mathews, expected to practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury, sat. He is questionable.

Colts: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

49ers: Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers missed this third practice with a sore hamstring, and reported he is unlikely to play.

Saints: Starting running back Pierre Thomas, who sat out last week with a chest injury, is expected to play.

Seahawks: Receiver Percy Harvin, who has played one game since offseason hip surgery, was listed as probable.

Around the league: Bucs hire cornerbacks coach

TAMPA — Gill Byrd was hired as Bucs cornerbacks coach. Byrd, 52, spent seven seasons with the Bears under new Bucs coach Lovie Smith: quality control (2006), assistant defensive backs (2007) and safeties (2008-12). He played cornerback for the Chargers from 1983-92. His 42 interceptions remain a franchise record.

Concussions: Two players violated protocol last week, but their teams won't be fined. The league didn't disclose names, but Packers tackle David Bakhtiari re-entered the game despite not being cleared while Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis stayed on the sideline instead of going to a quiet room.

Fine: Eagles cornerback Cary Williams was fined $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle on the Saints' Darren Sproles on the kickoff return that set up the winning field goal last week.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Panthers star receiver says he will be ready to go 01/10/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  3. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    If you're walking, you're hitting, as the saying goes, so it's a good sign that RF Steven Souza Jr. reached base four times, with a hit by pitch, a single and two walks. Hitters feel they are coming out of slumps when they are walking, because they are seeing the ball better. That's good news for the Rays …

  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning


    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."