Antonio Smith’s helmet-swinging meltdown Saturday night in Houston will reportedly cost him the last two exhibition games and the Texans’ regular-season opener.
ESPN reported Tuesday that the NFL will suspend Smith for those three games as punishment for targeting Richie Incognito’s head with Incognito’s own helmet. The league would not confirm that report when reached by the Miami Herald.
“Football’s an intense game,” Incognito said Tuesday, his first public comments since video of the incident aired on Fox Sports 1 Monday evening.
“It’s played with a lot of passion,” added Incognito, who declined to discuss specifics of the incident, including what prompted Smith to attack him. “Blood runs hot. I’ve been there. I’m no choirboy. People lost their cool. Thank God nobody got hurt.”
Incognito, named the league’s second-dirtiest player in a poll of players last season, showed remarkable restraint in not retaliating.
“It’s a work in progress for me,” Incognito said. “It’s something I’ve been working on for many years now. I have too much respect for my teammates and the hard work we’ve put in to retaliate and affect this team negatively.”
When asked if Incognito handled the situation the right way, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin responded: “That’s not for me to judge.”
Incognito’s teammates were, by and large, similarly mum on the issue after practice Tuesday.
However, wide receiver Brian Hartline made clear his thoughts about the Texans during a radio appearance on WQAM 560-AM earlier in the day.
When asked about D.J. Swearinger’s explanation for why he hit Dustin Keller in the knees on the play that ended Keller’s season — to avoid a fine if he hit high — Hartline said it was “crap.”
“There’s no place for that in the NFL,” Hartline said. “To get that low, I wouldn’t say it’s intentional, but it’s definitely not needed.”
BACK AT IT
Randy Starks and John Jerry, who both missed big chunks of training camp because of injury, each returned to the practice field Tuesday and participated in team drills.
Starks, the defensive tackle playing under the $8.5 million franchise tag, looked spry and active during his live reps. Jerry, who was the starting right guard before his injury, showed a bit more rust, favoring his left knee at times. He rotated with Lance Louis on the first-team line.
“I’ve been kind of a rag doll the last two weeks with the guys, so it feels great to be back out there,” Jerry said.
Added Starks, who expects to play Saturday against the Buccaneers: “Everything’s good.”
ON THE MEND
• Jamar Taylor continues to have problems with a sports hernia he had surgically repaired in the spring. He dropped to the ground during practice and held his groin, needing medical attention.
Taylor stayed on the field, however, and actually returned to action later in practice.
“God built me to last,” Taylor wrote on Twitter later in the day.
• First-round pick Dion Jordan, who has missed the past couple of weeks with a lingering shoulder issue, worked to the side with trainers during practice Tuesday.
• Nate Garner (shoulder) was the only Dolphins player absent from practice.