Texans defensive end Antonio Smith has been suspended for the final two preseason games and for his team’s regular-season opener. To little surprise, Smith will appeal the penalty.
Per a league source, Smith views the punishment as “way out of line,” especially since Texans believe (we’re told) that the helmet swung at Dolphins guard Richie Incognito didn’t make contact with his face.
Still, the fact that Smith even tried to hit Incognito with the helmet is reason enough to take a tough stance, and it will be difficult for Smith to secure a reversal.
At a base salary of $6 million, Smith will lose $352,941.17 if the regular-season suspension is upheld. For the preseason, he’ll lose far less — and he’ll gain the ability to not have to play in a pair of meaningless games.
The appeal will be heard by Ted Cottrell or Matt Birk. Birk recently replaced Art Shell as one of the two internal hearing officers for the appeal of on-field fines and suspensions.
It’s unclear whether the suspension would begin immediately, with Smith banished from all practice until the after the regular-season opener, or whether he can practice with the team for the balance of the preseason before commencing his suspension. If he’s currently banned from practice, time will be of the essence regarding the appeal process.
For now, the league is making no comment on the situation, explaining that discipline has not formally been issued.