Harrison Smith’s walk of shame. (Jim Mone | AP)

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith apologized for making a rookie mistake in the team’s 30-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans. He paid for the mistake with an immediate ejection and is more than likely going to pay for it again this week when he hears from the NFL.

Smith, a first-round pick from Notre Dame, was ejected in the second quarter Sunday for shoving a referee. He and several Titans players were yapping at one another and, as one official restrained him, Smith did the unthinkable — with Commissioner Roger Goodell in the house, no less.

“Right after it happened, I realized I put my hands on the official,” Smith said (via StarTribune.com). “You just can’t do it, period. So, I apologize to him. I apologize to my coaches, to my teammates, to the fans. It’s just unacceptable.”

Smith, who was fined $21,000 for an illegal hit in preseason, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time Sunday. He was smack in the middle of a trash-talking back-and-forth after Antoine Winfield intercepted Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Back judge Steve Freeman was trying to move Smith away from the pack when Smith pushed him aside. 

“It was just stupid for me to be involved,” Smith said (via the Star-Tribune’s Chip Scoggins). “I just got kind of caught up in the heat of the moment, and you can never touch the officials. They have a hard enough job as it is, and to make it harder on them is just stupid and is something I don’t ever want to do from this point on.”

Smith can expect a fine and perhaps more from the NFL, with a game against the Washington Redskins next for the Vikings. Grabbing the arm of a replacement official cost New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick $50,000 earlier this season. “To be honest, I’m going to take whatever they give me,” Smith said. “The officials already have a hard job and I should never have been there. I just want to play next week and just help the Vikings win.”

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