Vikings' Smith won't be punished for pushing ref
EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- Minnesota Vikings strong safety Harrison Smith won't be punished further for his shove of an official that drew a 15-yard penalty and automatic ejection from Sunday's game against Tennessee.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that the team was told by the NFL that Smith won't be fined or suspended. The rookie was pulled away from a tussle with some Titans players by back judge Steve Freeman after an interception by the Vikings in the second quarter, when Smith pushed Freeman aside.
Smith apologized after the game for what he called an "unacceptable" action and said he was wrong for even being involved in the scrum in the first place. The Vikings won 30-7 despite his absence.
"You can never touch the officials. They have a hard enough job as it is, and to make it harder on them is just stupid," Smith said after the game. "It's something I don't ever want to do from this point on."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that Smith's disqualification from the majority of the game was a "significant penalty." That determination was made by the league's executive vice president of football operation Ray Anderson.
Smith was disqualified with 11:24 left before halftime, meaning he missed the final 41:24, more than two-thirds of the game.
"We've got be able to handle our emotions when things get awry, and he knows that," Frazier said. "He and I have talked about it, and going forward we've got to do a better job across the board when moments like that occur."