Smith and Johnson
Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson did his best to fit in Friday, his first day of practice with the Carolina Panthers.
He praised fellow wide receiver Steve Smith, talked up the Panthers and the man he hopes will throw him the damn ball this season -- quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Oh yeah, and he immediately raised the expectation level.
Johnson said this Panthers team reminds him a lot of when he first got to Tampa Bay and later won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers. The only difference, Johnson said, is this team is much better on offense.
"It reminds me a lot of when I first got to Tampa," Johnson said. "They had a pretty solid defense and an offense that could move the ball from time to time on the ground. But I think this offense is better than the one I had under Tony Dungy in the beginning and then we went on a couple years later to win the Super Bowl. This team reminds me so much of that."
Smith said he's glad to have Johnson on the team.
"He just brings the aura that a lot of guys don't have and that's confidence," Smith said. "With confidence some people take that as cocky, but it's not that. It's going to help me individually because I'll have somebody out there I can count on and he can count on me as well."
Smith said he spoke to Johnson about an hour before Johnson signed as an unrestricted free agent.
"I let him know we wanted him here. He can play. He has a Super Bowl ring. I don't," Smith said. "I want one. He has one. It all makes sense to me."
Johnson also said he thinks he's going to like working with Delhomme.
"I like guys that take their job seriously when they are playing football but at the same time try to have a little fun in a relaxed environment," Johnson said after the first practice. "I think he brings that to the table at the quarterback position. He's kind of calm."
So for now, all is calm.
But you have to wonder if the monster egos of Smith and Johnson will clash at some point down the road, and how Delhomme will put up with being badgered by the duo for the football.
"Steve comes to play, whether it's practice or in games, and Keyshawn's much the same way," coach John Fox said. "Keyshawn brings a little bit more veteran experience. He's been a part of some good teams, some championship teams and some world championship teams. That experience and leadership comes in handy."
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