Texans defensive end Antonio Smith had his suspension upheld for swinging a helmet at an opponent. (Getty Images)
Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith had his appeal denied by the NFL and will be suspended for the final two preseason games and the team's first regular season contest, head coach Gary Kubiak confirmed Friday.
Smith ripped the helmet off Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito then hit Incognito on the shoulder with it Saturday night in the teams' preseason game.
He will sit out the team's final two preseason games and Houston's visit to San Diego to start the season Sept. 9. He also will lose about $353,000 in salary for his seventh rules violation since 2011.
One of those violations occurred when Smith kicked Incognito after a fumble pile-up last season. He was fined $11,000.
Smith had maintained his innocence earlier in the week.
“I didn’t swing (the helmet) at him,” Smith said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I was restrained. I caught myself. I did it out of frustration, but I brought the helmet back slow to my body so I wouldn’t hit him. I think the suspension is a little harsh because I restrained myself.”