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HOUSTON -- Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, in an interview with a local television station Tuesday, said he was disappointed with himself for swinging a helmet at an opponent and getting suspended.
Smith has appealed the suspension so he could tell his side of the incident but he was officially suspended on Wednesday for Week 1 of the regular season and the Texans' two remaining preseason games. He also will lose about $400,000 in salary.
"Obviously we're disappointed. I think he's as disappointed as anybody because he lost his composure," general manager Rick Smith said Wednesday. "That's something Gary [Kubiak] talks to our team about all the time. That's the first thing. Obviously that's something that we can't have in our game.
"Secondly I think there's an appeal process that has to take place. Certainly we will support Antonio in that effort and actually participate in that as well. I certainly believe they will consider. They'll listen, they'll give us some fair opportunities to give our side. I think we've got a legitimate case to present and hopefully they hear us," he said.
Smith can practice with the Texans the rest of the preseason, although he can't play in the games. Starting Aug. 31, however, he can't take part in any team activities with the Texans during his regular-season suspension. He will be reinstated on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
"… In general, I feel disappointed, disappointed in myself that I was able to let him get to me in the way that he did that frustrated me, when knowing that that's his whole game, that's what he bases his skill level off of, and I let him take me down a road that led me into that path," he told KRIV-TV in Houston.
The suspension stems from a play during the second quarter of the Texans' second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins guard Richie Incognito grabbed Smith's face mask and appeared to take a swing at him. Smith reacted by freeing himself then ripping off Incognito's helmet and swinging it.
"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."
Last season, Smith found himself in a similar position with Incognito during the Texans' season opener. After the game, he complained about what he called dirty play from Incognito and said the Dolphins guard was trying to injure his ankle. The NFL disagreed, instead fining Smith $21,000 for kicking Incognito. The fine was reduced to $11,000 on appeal.
On Tuesday afternoon, Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt was asked if he though Incognito was a dirty player.
"I think a lot of people think that," Watt said.
Incognito reacted to the most recent situation with Smith on Twitter.
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— Richie incognito (@68INCOGNITO) August 20, 2013