Let's face it, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith don't like each other. Last year, during the Week 1 contest between the two teams, the two players had an altercation. Smith alleges Incognito was trying to break his ankle. Incognito says he was holding on the play, but he did not try to break the ankle, and was simply trying to get away from the kicks toward his head Smith was sending.
(Both GIFs via Battle Red Blog)
Yes, that is Smith deciding that Incognito's hands to the face meant Richie wanted his helmet ripped off and swung at his head. Yep, seems like a rational reaction to being blocked in the NFL.
I think it's safe to say, there is probably a little over the line blocking going on in that play by Incognito. He definitely takes a swing at Smith near the end, but I can't tell if that's a reaction to Smith grabbing the facemask as that point or not. Either way, Smith immediately has Incognito's helmet in his hand and is planning to use it to bash Incognito in the face.
Maybe he missed. Maybe he realized what he was doing and short armed the swing. Whatever it was, Incognito is lucky he did not take the full brunt of that helmet coming at his head, and Smith is lucky he did not connect, because a move like that could mean Dustin Keller was not the only catastrophic injury that would have happened during the game.
Battle Red Blog, SB Nation's Texans site, has been all over this story, beginning with this article, which we shared here on the Phinsider as well. Now, as the rest of the media catches up to their work, reports are coming out that the NFL is aware of the situation and they are investigating.
Reports also indicate a suspension of Smith is expected.
Incognito is known as one of the dirtiest players in the league, a moniker that he earned from his time with the St. Louis Rams, but has been unable to shake since. He plays hard, but he is typically just on this side of dirty. Meanwhile, the player who claimed Incognito tried to break his ankle, when the only evidence showed him kicking Incognito in the helmet, and just swung a helmet at Incoginto's head, was fined $21,000 for the kicking last year, as well as receiving a $7,500 fine last year for ripping off Andre Gurode's helmet.
Not sure if you want to call Incognito dirty, but Smith may need to look in the mirror before lobbing those accusations toward the Dolphins' Pro Bowl guard. The title of "dirty" may fit more than one player in these incidents.