Antonio Smith, a pro-bowl defensive end for the Houston Texans, told KRIV-TV in Houston that he plans on appealing the three week suspension he was handed Wednesday for taking off and swinging Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito’s helment during Saturday night’s preseason game.
“My plan is, like anybody who gets in this situation, is to appeal it because that gives you the opportunity to state your case and to talk to the NFL and give them an opportunity to hear what you have to say.
The play that was under review occurred during the second quarter of the game, which Houston would go on to win 24-17. Incognito grabbed Smith’s facemask and appeared to throw a punch with his right hand. Smith reacted by yanking off Icognito’s helmet and swinging it.
A penalty was not called on the play.
“Initially, I was full of frustration,” Smith said. “I swung the helmet, but I didn’t swing the helmet to hit Richie Incognito. If I was going to swing the helmet to hit Richie Incognito, it wouldn’t have been hard. He’s right there close. You can see how low the helmet was and how tight I brought it to my body.”
Smith said Incognito initially hit him in the face mask.
“It was a deliberate punch to my face,” Smith said. “You see how far my head went back. It was a deliberate grab of my face mask, the twisting and the jerking of it and then one last punch at the end.”
This was not the first incident between the two players.
The two also went at it in last season’s opener, when Smith kicked Incognito, drawing an $11,000 fine. Smith later said Incognito deliberately tried to twist his ankle while holding his legs in the 2012 game.
Incognito, who is no stranger to penalties, tweeted his reaction Tuesday afternoon.
Football is an intense game. Blood runs hot.... I’ve been there. Emotions run high. People lost their cool. Thank God no one got hurt
Smith, 31, will miss the last two preseason games — Sunday against New Orleans and Aug. 29 against Dallas — and the Texans’ season opener against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 9. The ninth-year player was drafted in the fifth round out of Oklahoma State by the Arizona Cardinals and joined the Texans in 2009. He was a pro bowler in 2011 and has 36.5 career sacks.