NFC Notes: Panthers, Allen, Rams, Bucs, Lions

Speaking to reporters today, including’s David Newton, head coach Ron Rivera attempted to clear the air when it came to the Panthers‘ decision to release Steve Smith. While there had been a belief that Smith was viewed as a locker-room distraction, that wasn’t the case, according to Rivera, who said the decision was purely a football one.

“This is not a fly-by-night decision,” Rivera said. “This was not a personal decision…. There was nothing personal about it. I’m a little disappointed that so many people reacted the way they did without truly understanding there was a lot of things that go into this. This was not a willy-nilly, fly-by-night vengeful thing. This was a very calculated [decision].”

Here’s more from around the NFC, with a focus on head coaches’ comments from Orlando….

  • Rivera also made it clear this morning that the Panthers will be drafting at least one receiver, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Ed Werder of (Twitter link), who originally reported that Jared Allen was expected to sign with the Seahawks, hears from the defensive end that the Bears entered the mix for him at the last minute.
  • Rams head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters today, including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link), that his team hasn’t had trade talks involving the No. 2 pick at this point. Of course, that’s not to say discussions won’t occur at some point.
  • The Rams will host Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews for a private workout, according to Fisher (Twitter link via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
  • Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links) passes along a couple highlights from Lovie Smith‘s conversation with the media today. According to the Buccaneers head coach, the team feels good about Josh McCown and Mike Glennon but could add another quarterback in the draft. Smith also said that extending Gerald McCoy‘s contract is a priority: “We want him around for a long time.”
  • Before tight end Jim Dray signed with the Browns, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was very interested in bringing Dray back to the Cardinals, tweets Nate Ulrich.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said today that the club would like to add a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and are looking for “a little bit different flavor” rusher to pair with Ezekiel Ansah, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Caldwell and Lions GM Martin Mayhew will both attend Texas A&M’s Pro Day tomorrow to check out wide receiver Mike Evans, according to Tim Twentyman of (via Twitter).
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