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Friday, November 2
Witnesses say Larry Smith hit Jeff Smith after practice

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars suspended defensive lineman Larry Smith for one game after witnesses said he punched center Jeff Smith after a practice.

Three players who were in the locker room after practice Wednesday said they saw Larry Smith punch Jeff Smith while he was getting dressed. The center was bleeding after he took the hit and needed several stitches on his face, said the players, who asked not to be identified.

The Jaguars announced Larry Smith's suspension Thursday, but coach Tom Coughlin said only that it was for violating team rules.

Jeff Smith had a fat lip Friday. He said he didn't want to talk about anything other than Sunday's game against Tennessee.

A second-round draft pick in 1999, Larry Smith had been inactive the last two games, and has made only four tackles this season. Coughlin said he has not considered cutting Larry Smith, who has been a constant source of trouble in the locker room.

"I don't want to," Coughlin said. "I think he has value as a young player."

As much as his 58 career tackles, however, Larry Smith's long-term legacy has been his problems blending into a normally tranquil locker room.

During halftime of the 1999 AFC title game, Larry Smith started an argument with members of the offense. He was upset that former Jaguars punt returner Reggie Barlow had fumbled a punt that led to a Titans field goal just before halftime.

The Jaguars led 14-10 at halftime, but coaches were unable to settle the locker room and make any adjustments. Shaken, the Jaguars were outscored 23-0 in the second half.

Coughlin has a reputation as a no-nonsense coach who doesn't tolerate troublemakers. Larry Smith joins last year's first-round draft pick, R. Jay Soward, on the suspension list. Soward was suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Asked if he wants problem players on his team, Coughlin replied: "It has nothing to do with, 'is this the kind of team you want, is this the kind of individual you want?' Of course not."

Coughlin said he is looking into anger-management counseling for Smith.

"We're trying to do something like that, yes, but you don't know from me what the incident is," Coughlin said.

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