Though tonight’s main NFL story revolves around a huge opener for Charlie Batch (!), Joey Porter and Willie Parker (not to mention Nick Saban’s difficulty throwing a red hanky), we’ll hop in the time machine and go back to Wednesday morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Falcons S DeAngelo Hall essentially ended his friendship with Carolina WR Steve Smith.

No need to worry about whom DeAngelo Hall will be eating dinner with in Carolina this year.

It won’t be with Steve Smith.

“I don’t think it will happen,” Hall said of spending pregame time with Smith, as he did before last season’s game in Carolina. “It’s a little bit of a different mind frame. Last year, it was a Pro Bowl push. This year, I feel like we need a Super Bowl. Period. If I got to put friendships on hold, or whatever, end them, that’s cool. This is a business. You best believe, when he’s hanging in the air, I will be taking a shot at him. Period. I’m trying to kill people this year. Period.”

Hall said he has already grown tired of hearing about how great Smith was last season and how Smith is one of the top receivers in the NFL. The evidence (103 catches, 1,563 yards, 12 touchdowns) bears as much, but Hall is still sick of hearing about it.

“I know he’s a good receiver, a great receiver,” Hall (above, left) said. “I didn’t think he had much success against me. Period. They weren’t trying to go downfield with him at all. They threw a couple little narrow routes. Obviously, he broke that one. Bad tackling. Fluke play. You do it 10 times, I make that play nine times. So besides that one fluke play, the guy didn’t have that much success against me.”

Smith had seven catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the 24-6 victory Dec. 4.

Smith had the following reply on Thursday for the Winston-Salem Journal’s Joe Menzer.

“This is a business,and that is the way football is. I’m happy he’s grown up and realized that,” Smith said.

“I guess when you are on the top, you have a lot of people try to knock you down. Some people are lower than others on the totem pole by age, performance and talk.

“So when you’re the court jester and you’re talking to the king, you have to do stuff like that. But other than that, I’m not going to play games with little kids. There’s no reason to. When you talk you obviously are insecure about something and if you talk long enough, you will hang yourself. And obviously he pointed out things that are in his craw and in his collar.”

Asked what damage Hall’s verbal barrage did to their one-time friendship, Smith added: “Like he said, it ends, doesn’t it?”

When pressed to clarify if it ends or simply is on hold for the season, Smith did so with characteristic bluntness.

“This ain’t no relationship, sweetheart. I’ve only got two relationships – one with my Lord and savior and one with my wife. Other than that, that’s it.”