There are lots of those unspoken rules in the NFL that aren’t smart to break. One of them is don’t touch the officials.
Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Harrison Smith made the costly mistake of touching a referee on Sunday, and paid the price for his mental lapse. After pushing an official, Smith was ejected from the Vikings’ Week 5 showdown with the Tennessee Titans.
The incident occurred in the second quarter after a big interception courtesy of Vikings’ starting cornerback Antoine Winfield. Once the play had come to an end, Smith got into a shoving match with Titans wide receiver Nate Washington. When an official stepped in to bring the quarrel to a close, Smith forcefully removed the zebra from his person, immediately landing himself an ejection.
On top of costing the Vikings their starting free safety, Smith’s outburst will certainly land him a hefty fine from the NFL offices. Smith was already slapped with a $21,000 fine during the preseason for a shoulder-to-helmet hit, and will be forced to part ways with more of his rookie paycheck after Sunday’s mistake.
Throughout his first five games, Smith has proven himself to be a valuable asset for the Vikings’ secondary. He’s playing with passion and tenacity, justifying the first-round pick that Minnesota used to acquire his services back in April. His lack of temper control, however, has been an issue.
At this point, the only victim is Smith’s wallet. The Vikings will certainly keep a close eye on the his maturation as the season progresses, though.