The NFL officially laid the hammer down on Texans defensive end Antonio Smith on Wednesday. Smith, who was caught on film swinging a helmet at Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, has been suspended for Houston's final two preseason games and Week 1 of the regular season.
As you can imagine, Smith doesn't agree with the suspension. "My plan is to appeal it because that gives you the opportunity to state your case," Smith said, via KRIV-TV in Houston. "And to talk to the NFL and give them an opportunity to hear what you have to say."
Smith said the incident wasn't as bad as it looked on film, "I swung the helmet, but I didn't swing the helmet to hit Richie Incognito," he said. "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."
According to Smith, the entire incident started because of Incognito.
"The full video speaks for itself," Smith said. "He punched me in the face mask and once he punched me in the face mask, you can see him hold onto it and try to bend my neck back, holding my face mask all the way up. I finally got his hand off of my facemask, he punched me one last time with his right hand. It was a deliberate punch to my face. 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."
Incognito tweeted about the incident on Tuesday and also talked about it with Miami-area media.
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
If Smith's appeal fails, he'll miss out on his Week 1 salary, a number that comes out to $352,941. A failed appeal would also mean Smith can't practice with the team once the preseason ends.