Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith received a three-game suspension from the NFL for ripping off Miami's Richie Incognito's helmet and swinging it at him during a preseason game Saturday night.
Smith will miss the last two games of the preseason and the season opener in San Diego on Sept. 9. He can practice with the team until the end of preseason, but then has to miss all team activities until being reinstated on Sept. 10.
The 2011 Pro Bowler plans to appeal the suspension, which will cost him about $400,000 in salary.
Last season, Smith was fined $11,000 for kicking Incognito during what the Texans player said was a dirty play by his opponent. Similarly, he says it was the Dolphins guard who started the most recent incident by hitting him in the facemask.
"It was a deliberate punch to my face," Smith said, according to ESPN. "You see how far my head went back. It was a deliberate grab of my facemask, the twisting and the jerking of it and then one last punch at the end."
He added: "Initially, I was full of frustration. 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."
Still, Smith told KRIV-TV in Houston, "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."