Incognito explains video of him holding Antonio Smith’s leg


Texans defensive end Antonio Smith has accused Dolphins guard Richie Incognito of dirty play.  Incognito has denied it.

Several of you have forwarded to us a video that seems to indicate Incognito doing something inappropriate to Smith’s leg.

At first blush, it looks like Incognito is a hungry dog and Smith’s femur is the ham bone.  But Incognito explained himself via a stream of Twitter direct messages to PFT.

“I have seen the video,” Incognito said. “Once the ball was fumbled I grabbed his legs to stop him from recovering the fumble.  It’s clear that I wrap my arms around both his legs.  I was trying to keep him from scrambling to the ball.

“After the ball was recovered I felt him kicking me.  I was trying to protect myself.  Kind of like a turtle in a shell.  At no time was I turning his ankle. My intent was to keep him from getting to the ball.”

But Incognito was pragmatic.  “Obviously in a case like this I have no ground to stand on [because] of my reputation,” he said.  “There is no evidence of me trying to injure him.  The reason I’m seen holding onto one of his legs [because] he started kicking me in the arm and neck the the other.  I had both legs in my grasp.  The fact of the matter is I’m laying on his leg.  There is no twisting motion whatsoever.  He is clearly kicking me in the neck.  Talk about dirty?”

We don’t expect anyone who already has concluded that Incognito is dirty to agree with him.  But it’s only fair to consider his side of the story before reaching a conclusion.  Given his desire to keep Smith from recovering a fumble, it actually was a smart play — regardless of whether the stuff happening out of view would consist of something objectively dirty.

Still, as Incognito said, Smith plainly can be seen kicking Incognito in the neck.  How is that any different than the move that got Ndamukong Suh suspended two games?

57 responses to “Incognito explains video of him holding Antonio Smith’s leg

  1. ah, this explains it all. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for the story because I was concerned that there might have been something outside the rules of the game going on, on the field.

  2. it’s different from Suh because it’s exactly what you would do if someone was trying to twist your ankle

  3. It wasn’t a pile up as he implied, and he held onto his legs to stop Smith from getting to the fumble.

    Smith was standing up and dude dove on his legs from behind on a loose ball. He wasn’t blocking, he tackled Smith from behind.

    Incognito is dirty.

  4. The cut-blocking Texans accusing someone else if being dirty? Also, good thing tannehill did not go past two on his snap cadence or Watt would have never figured it out. Was starting to like the Texans but they are turning into another team that has never won anything that likes to run its mouth.

  5. If you look at the play, nothing that Incognito said there was true.

    Frankly, if Incognito was trying to break Smith’s ankle there, Smith is justified to defend himself. I’m more inclined to believe Smith’s side than Incognito’s after watching that video. And after reading Incognito’s explanation, he’s clearly lying.

  6. Flat out dirty. Best case scenario is holding on Incognito. However, it looks to me that Smith is in a panic and doing everything possible to prevent his ankle from getting broken.

    If it really went down like Incognito says, why would Smith call him out?

  7. It’s different because Suh stomped a player that was on the ground defenseless and Smith was kicking Incognito because Incognito was trying to break his leg.

    Incognito even contradicts himself during his “explanation”. At one point he says “It’s clear that I wrap my arms around BOTH his legs. I was trying to keep him from scrambling to the ball”.

    A little later he says, “I’m seen holding onto ONE of his legs [because] he started kicking me in the arm and neck the the other. He then says again that he had BOTH legs in his grasp.

    Next time he should have his story a little more tidied up before he gets in front of the mic.

  8. insertcrypticnameher says:
    Sep 12, 2012 8:37 PM
    it’s different from Suh because it’s exactly what you would do if someone was trying to twist your ankle

    And Suh reacted to constant holding from Wells and EDS. Literally double-teamed bear hugs. Watch the tape. No different.

  9. Did Incognito REALLY watch this video ? Because I just did (7 times). There is not a point during the play that Incognito is even facing the ball to know that it was loose. He lunged at Smith’s legs as soon as he realized he was beat. While I can’t see definitively whether or not Incognito was turning Smith’s ankle, it would seem, based on the way Smith twisted, that he did. And Incognito held onto his ankle WAY after the play was over (which is when Smith started kicking him).

    Regardless, tackling Smith was illegal and had the potential for a senseless injury. I would say calling him “dirty” is justified based on that play alone.

  10. Any reason they both can’t be right on this one?

    Incognito was likely doing exactly what he says he was doing and the Texan likely believed exactly what he thought was going on.

    That would be too simple.

  11. I don’t think that Incognito was trying to injure Smith, but that is definitely a cheap play. What he was trying to do is an illegal play. Everyone knows that you are not allowed to tackle and hold players down to the ground. Smith was not trying to be dirty for the sake of being dirty. The guy was illegaly grabbing his legs and refused to let go. Any football player would try and kick the other guy off of his legs. Any player that would just lay there and wait for a guy to stop illegaly pinning him to the ground probably is not a very good player…

  12. And Suh reacted to constant holding from Wells and EDS. Literally double-teamed bear hugs. Watch the tape. No different.


    There’s a huge difference between retribution for holding by stomping someone on the ground and desperately trying to escape someone who’s currently trying to break your leg. But you knew that already.

  13. hegrey7 says: Sep 12, 2012 8:50 PM

    If it really went down like Incognito says, why would Smith call him out?


    Preemptive strike/excuse for the league being able to plainly see him kicking Cog’s head like a cheerleader tryout… and dispensing some well deserved fine action?

  14. Does anyone realize Incognito was kicked off the Huskers for being dirty and fighting with a teammate and also released by the Rams too for dirty plays and personal fouls, then arguing with Spagnola about it? I don’t believe a word this guy says.

  15. People really don’t know football…. lol! If there is a loose ball on the ground, it’s free game. Push, shove, tackle, do whatever you can to get that ball outside of personal fouls such as punching someone, grabbing their facemask, etc. Same with a tipped pass… the first thing you do is tackle the receiver if you are the cb. lol come on people… this is highschool stuff.

  16. Virginia: What’s this I hear about you breaking a rake and throwing it in the woods?

    Happy Gilmore: What? I didn’t *break* it, I was just testing its durability, and then I *placed* it in the woods because it’s made of wood and I just thought he should be with his family.

  17. If you look at the texans injury report today, Smith was held out of practice because of an ankle injury. Just holding on to the leg is a heaping pile of crap

  18. Whatever, man. The way Smith was whining, you’d think Richie was doing to his legs what Kathy Bates did to James Caan’s in Misery.

    It’s football. Play on.

  19. I hope Incognito gets sliced like Haynesworth did to Andre Gurode. He deserves it, and has for years. Incognito is a filthy player and the game will only get better the day someone ends his career. Which I hope is ASAP. I don’t mind being chippy, but he always takes things too far. I’ll always take anyone’s side claiming Incognito did something that crossed the line. He does every game. He’s a punk.

  20. It was not like Suh. Suh was in no danger of having his career ended, either real or perceived. Suh was upright, stomping a defenseless man on the ground. Smith was lying down, being held down, with no leverage. Smith thought he was defending himself, whether he was or not. What an idiotic comparison.

    When there is a fumble, everyone can suddenly tackle anyone?? And hang on after the recovery? It may have been legal and heads up for Ingognito, but I can get Smith feeling he needed to protect himself whether or not ankle twisting had actually begun. Under Ingognito, out of sight, is not a safe place to leave your lower leg.

    Oh, and I never heard Smith call out this particlar play…. we may not even be talking about the plays Smith was thinking of….

  21. Incognito was dirty at Nebraska when he was in college. Incognito was so dirty while playing for St. Louis they cut him because of all his personal fouls. Incognito is STILL dirty.

  22. The difference is you have to slow down and freeze frame Suh to make it look more like a stomp and less like a dog dismissing its waste.

  23. I don’t see how he can say “I was laying on his legs”, then say “he was kicking me in my neck”. I’m no anatomy major, but how could he possibly be able to kick you in the neck if you were laying on his legs? If he got to the pont he could kick you in the neck, you wouldn’t be laying on him anymore, and he could freely get up

  24. Also, if you think stuff like this doesn’t happen in the trenches all the time, you don’t know football.

    I played football in high school, and the coach lectured O-linemen to punch guys in the gut or “lower abdomen” [read: groin] if D-linemen tried to tip passes.
    Also, in a zone-blocking scheme, O-linemen are taught to dive at a defender’s lower legs – which is completely legal so long as the defender isn’t being engaged by a different O-lineman.


    There’s a reason why when O-linemen are described as having a “mean streak,” it’s meant as a compliment.

  25. After watching the video, here are my questions:

    1. Why is #71 Jonathan Martin leg whipping and tripping #38 Manning?

    2. Why is Richie Incognito tackling Smith from behind when he isn’t in position to see the fumble?

    3. Why is Richie wrenching on Smith’s leg upwards of THREE seconds after the play is whistled dead?

    4. Why doesn’t anyone see Smith attempting to free himself from Richie? Given the usage of Smith’s hands in backing out of the grapple along with using his free leg to kick loose, it’s obvious he is trying to escape.

    5. Why are the officials so overwhelmed with their duties and lack of experience that they missed all of these details during this play?

    6. What is the league and NFLPA going to do about this in the so called spirit of “player safety”?

  26. Smith is a whiner. Grow up. It’s football.

    Dude should have a pink tutu on so people can treat him little the whiny little girl he is…

  27. I thought Incognito came off like a total a-hole on hard knocks. It’s not a stretch then for me to assume that he’d be a total a-hole on the field as well.

  28. Incognito = Liar. This isn’t the first lie he’s attempted.
    Just wish Smith could’ve gotten cleats through that facemask.

  29. All you have to do is watch the video from the link and you can see Antonio Smith’s entire right leg is free the entire time. So as others have pointed out, there’s no way his story about grabbing both legs can be true.

  30. Some of you whiny Texan fans have vivid imaginations, and apparently xray vision.

    Coach Kubiak is on record as having watched the video, and seeing nothing wrong with it.

    I guess he is lying too.

  31. A lot of you guys obviously have not played football. When there is a fumble, players yell fumble to alert their teammates that there is a ball on the ground. So if he did see the ball or not is really irrelevant. The other thing is fumble is very much like a tip pass. Its pretty much a free for all. What Incognito could be considered dirty because he nailed Smith from behind but it is within the rules.

  32. Incognito is an idiot. As a Rams fan, the day he was waived was awesome. It’s tough for me to decide which headline I liked more: “Incognito waived”, “Marc Bulger released”, or “Alex Barron benched”.

  33. I wanted to believe you, Richie. But after watching the video, all I can say is DAAAAMN! This isnt a case of subtley grabbing the man’s ankle. You are writhing on the ground like a pitbull trying to twist his leg from his body as he kicks and flails in a panic.

    Dirty play. Guilty as charged.

  34. Repeat after me…” Cut blocking is LEGAL.” So quit trying to say the Texans (or any other team that uses it) are dirty.
    Trying to compare this incident to what Suh did is ridiculous. Suh got frustrated, threw a temper tantrum, then stomped on a downed opponent. Smith and Incognito were both on the ground.Smith was trying to protect his legs from a dirty player.

  35. I call BS on Incognito. If you watch the video closely, it doesn’t even look like he saw the fumble! He was facing the opposite direction when the ball was fumbled, then twisted down on Antonio’s leg! Looks VERY dirty to me, and I woulda kicked him too if he was trying to twist my ankle off.

  36. Smith is a whiner. Grow up. It’s football.

    Dude should have a pink tutu on so people can treat him little the whiny little girl he is…


    Actually isn’t this why we’re talking about this because he got tired of complaining at took matters into his own hands by kicking the snot out of that punk. YOU CANT HOLD US DOWN AND WE WILL NOT BE PUNKED….. GO TEXANS

  37. do you guys remember the 2nd Holyfield-Tyson fight? the one where Tyson bit off a portion of Holyfield’s ear? well .. in additional to doing that there was one round where Tyson wrapped around Holyfield’s arm and was trying to break it .. recall Holyfield’s reaction when that happened .. he was in panic mode jumping and hitting, doing everything he could to get out of Tyson’s grasp.

    now watch the video, look at Smith’s reaction .. it looks identical to Holyfield’s. a sort of panic’d desperation to get out of the grasp of someone doing harm to one of his limbs.

    to me it is clear. we’ve all watched football for some time now right? is it normal to react the way Smith did just on a hold? have we ever seen reactions like that? clearly something painful was happening to the limb that Incognito was wrapped around.

  38. Suh kicked a packer in the arm once.

    Williams kicked a Dolphin in the head/neck area multiple times.

    And Suh was the one suspended 2 games.

  39. Sorry, but there’s no evidence to show that Incognito was twisting Smith’s ankle. I’m not saying he wasn’t doing it, because it can’t be seen on video. However, what CAN be seen is Smith kicking Incognito repeatedly, and the question is when is Goodell going to suspend Smith for two or more games for that incident? If Suh got two games for barely contacting Evan Dietrich-Smith, than Antonio Smith deserves at least that much for what he was doing.

    Double standard Goodell?

  40. This is the case of the fight at school. You have one student that doesn’t get in trouble, keeps his head down and does his work, then you have the guy who has had 4 fights this year and a fight record dating back to middle school. Fair or not at the end if the day you will believe the guy who normally doesn’t get in trouble. THE END AND GO TEXANS

  41. Toughness is very important in the NFL.

    Dolphins need more Incognitos on their team.

    Coaches love it when the other team’s players are more concerned about the “dirty” player than the actual play.

    Let’s break some of these cry babies ankles!

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