Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans, reminded the NFL and its fans that the feud between offensive lineman, Richie Incognito and defensive end, Antonio Smith isn’t over. This is the second time since last September that these two players have engaged in an altercation. Since Saturday’s incident, the NFL has carefully reviewed the game footage and one player has been fined and suspended.
At the end of the first quarter game footage shows Miami Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill taking a snap and to his left Smith and Incognito face off. However, a bit of a scuffle begins to ensue. Once the play is over, Incognito is seen standing while bent over as Smith pulls his helmet off. Smith then swings the helmet towards Incognito’s head, just missing his face.
Fox Sports reports that Coach Joe Philbin reached out to the league requesting a potential fine and/or suspension against the Texan. On Tuesday, NFL.com stated that Smith would be suspended for three games. The final two preseason games and the first game of the regular season. When questioned about the incident by CSNHouston, Smith seemed to brush of questions, by responding as if he didn’t remember the incident due to the length of the game. Nonetheless, Smith plans to appeal the ban. (Yahoo! Sports)
Texan running back, Ben Tate took to Twitter to express his frustrations with the league’s decisions.
“Unfair treatment of Antonio…the League continues to let one of the known dirtiest players get away without even a slap on the wrist.”
Last year, Incognito and Smith had another altercation. In September, during the Texan’s season opener, Smith kicked Incognito when he tried to twist his ankle. The league went on to fine Smith $21,000, but later had it reduced to $11,000 after he appealed the decision. Considering Incognito’s history as a dirty player, some NFL fans find it hard to believe he’s innocent in each matter.
“It's a label that has been with me since I was a younger player, when I quite frankly did play dirty and I would go after guys. … So I think back then the tag was deserved. I have evolved, and I think that label still sticks. Once you're labeled with it, it's very hard to shake,” NFL.com reported.
At this point only one player has been suspended and fined. If anything is to change it will probably be a modification to that ruling and less likely the indictment of another players role in the matter. If there is a round three, it won’t happen this year. The Dolphins and the Texans don’t meet again this season.
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