The Houston Texans will have to take the field in the season opener without defensive end Antonio Smith. The 31-year-old’s appeal of a suspension was denied by the NFL, rightfully so. There is no question Smith deserves to be suspended for his actions in the team’s second preseason game.
“Well, disappointed,” head coach Gary Kubiak said about Smith’s suspension, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I thought we had an excellent chance to get him back the first week, but, like I said, I think our league’s fair. They look at everything and they looked at this one and gave us our opportunity to present our case and they made their ruling. It’s a challenge number one obviously, so we’ll be missing at least one guy, but I’m sure there will be many more throughout the course of the season. We understand it. We accept it. As a team, we’ve got to get ready to meet the challenge.”
Smith will not be allowed to play in the last two preseason games and will be forced to miss Week 1 after he engaged in a fight with Miami Dolphins offensive guard Rickie Incognito. Smith ripped off Incognito’s helmet and attempted to hit him with it during the game. Obviously, it was a wrong move that have the Texans very disappointed.
“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,” Smith said, according to ESPN.com.
The nine-year veteran is a big part of Houston’s defense, which is why the organization feels let down. He recorded 30 total tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and batted down three passes last season. The good news is Smith will only be suspended one game, which he should feel fortunate about considering it could have been plenty worse.