Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said Sunday that he forgives Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito for instigating two incidents the last two seasons that caused him to be fined last year and suspended through the first game of the regular season.
“Days after that situation, I just let it go,” Smith told the Houston Chronicle during an autograph signing. “I forgave him. I forgave myself. The thing that hurts me the worst is letting down my brothers.
“After all my hurt and pain – my ranting and raving – I felt like they should have done something to him. Why me? At the end of the day, I’m in the meeting room and my brothers are looking at me, like, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to be gone. We’re going to miss you.’
“I heard that every day, and it became like torture. They showed me their support, but it reminded me of what I’m going to be missing. That humbled me more than anything, knowing I’m letting down my team.
“I’ve been wondering how it’s going to feel to watch on TV a game I’m supposed to be in. That’s something I never imagined I’d have to do.”
Last season, Smith was fined $10,000 for kicking Incognito. He will be fined $352,941 this season for ripping off Incognito’s helmet and swinging it at him in the Texans’ second preseason game.
“I’ll probably thank them at the end of the season,” he said about the league and Incognito. “I have a drive I probably haven’t felt in years, a reawakening. It’s given me that motivation, that pop, that football – after years and years – can kind of take away from you because you go through that same routine over and over until you find a purpose to fight for.
“Every piece we need, we have. The mindset to get over that second-playoff-win hump we’ve got it. To see the weapons we have now, I think anybody on my team will say this, anything less than the Super Bowl this year will be a failure.”