NEW YORK (AP) — Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith lost his cool in a preseason game, and it’s going to keep him out of the team’s season opener.
Smith was suspended by the NFL on Wednesday for Week 1 of the regular season and the last two preseason games for hitting Miami guard Richie Incognito with the Dolphins player’s helmet.
Smith ripped the helmet off Incognito’s head, then hit Incognito on the shoulder with it Saturday night’ in the teams’ preseason game. 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 was not fined for that play.
Houston general manager Rick Smith was unhappy with Antonio Smith’s actions.
“That’s obviously something we can’t have in our game,” Rick Smith said.
Smith must sit out Houston’s visit to San Diego to begin the season Sept. 9. He also will lose about $400,000 in salary for his seventh rules violation since 2011.
“I’m disappointed in myself because I’ve got to make sure that my players keep their composure on the football field. That’s my job,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “They’ve got a job when they get out there to maintain their composure regardless of circumstances. There’s no excuses. We can’t hurt the team, and I talk to our guys about that all the time. If someone is going to miss some time, that hurts the team.”
The Texans said league rules forbid Smith from speaking with the media while he is suspended, but Rick Smith said the player will appeal the punishment.
“There’s an appeal process that has to take place and we’ll support Antonio in that effort and participate in that as well,” Rick Smith said. “I certainly believe that they will consider and they’ll listen. They’ll give us a fair opportunity to present our side of it, and I think we’ve got a legit case to present, and hopefully they hear us.”
Antonio Smith was fined three times for unnecessary roughness and three times for illegal hits before the latest incident.