The Giants face the Panthers in the first game of the season, and apparently for some players that can’t get here fast enough. They want revenge for what happened the last time they met for the final Giants game at Giants Stadium.

And those are just the Panthers.

Well, one in particular. Steve smith, the wide receiver for Carolina who broke his wrist on a hit from Michael Johnson in that game, told Sports Illustrated that he will be “going after” Johnson for some measure of revenge when the teams meet on Sept. 12.

(Nevermind that Johnson probably won’t be on the field all that much and Smith himself re-injured the arm playing flag football this offseason.)

I asked Johnson about this yesterday and he hadn’t heard about the comments. By the time I saw him today, he had. And he played it cool with a little bit of a dig.

“Who are you talking about, the Steve Smith from Carolina? So you’re not talking about Pro Bowl Steve Smith?”

It was an obvious reference to his teammate, the Giants’ Steve Smith, who went to the Pro Bowl following the 2009 season.

Johnson said he didn’t see anything illegal or dirty about the hit he put on Smith in that December game, although he admitted that someone must have because he was fined for it. The hit occurred in the end zone after Smith caught a touchdown in the rout.

As for payback, Johnson said he’s paying no attention to it.

“Definitely not, no,” he said. “The only Steve Smith I’m worried about is the one on my team. I don’t even know the other guy.”

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