Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said he forgives Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito and himself for an incident three weeks ago that resulted in his suspension through the first game of the regular season.
"Days after that situation I just let it go," Smith told KRIV-TV in Houston and the Houston Chronicle. "I forgave him. I forgave myself. The thing that hurt me the worst is letting down my brothers. That's how I've always been. I've always been the type of person that fights for the things that he loves and that's why I'm so passionate."
Smith spoke during an autograph signing, conducting only his second interview since being suspended. He is not allowed to participate in team functions or obligations while serving the suspension.
The suspension stemmed from a play during the Texans' second preseason game against the Dolphins when Incognito grabbed onto Smith's face mask for several seconds and Smith retaliated by ripping off Incognito's helmet and swinging it in his direction.
Smith previously said he did not intend to hit Incognito with the helmet. He has a history with Incognito. Last year during the Texans' season opener, Smith was fined $11,000 for an on-field altercation with Incognito.
Losing a game check will be more significant, as it will cost Smith more than $350,000.
"I'll probably thank them at the end of the season," Smith said. "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."