Scoggins: Harrison Smith crossed the line -- and knows it

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2012 - 11:35 AM

The Vikings' edgy rookie safety showed contrition after his ejection.

Harrison Smith made a long, slow walk off the field, up the tunnel and into the Vikings locker room Sunday.

The rookie safety knew he messed up by putting his hands on a game official and felt terrible about it.

"It was just stupid for me to be involved," Smith said afterward. "I just got kind of caught up in the heat of the moment, and 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 and is something I don't ever want to do from this point on."

Smith was ejected in the second quarter of a 30-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Mall of America Field after he pushed back judge Steve Freeman after an interception by Antoine Winfield.

Smith and several Titans players were jawing at each other at the end of the play. Freeman pushed Smith backward to separate him, and Smith responded by pushing Freeman aside.

"He grabbed the official when the official was trying to separate them and pushed the official to the side," referee Jeff Triplette told a pool reporter. "That's an automatic ejection."

Asked if Freeman was too aggressive in trying to separate Smith, Triplette said, "[Freeman] was just trying to separate [Smith] from the huddle, and he can't be shoving him aside."

Smith didn't argue that point. He took full responsibility and understands that additional punishment -- a hefty fine and/or suspension -- is likely. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in attendance, so he got a bird-eye's view of the incident.

"I'm going to take whatever they give me," Smith said. "I should never have been there."

Smith's contrition sounded genuine. He apologized to Freeman on the field and to his team in the locker room. He also apologized to Vikings fans, calling his actions "unacceptable."

"I talked to Coach [Leslie] Frazier and he said, 'Obviously, a stupid play,' " Smith said. "He just said, 'Learn from it, just continue to grow from it and just don't let it happen again.' "

Hopefully, Smith doesn't allow that momentary lapse in judgment to cause him to lose his aggressiveness and tough-as-nails persona because he has brought an attitude and edge to the secondary. The Vikings raved about Smith's football smarts and field awareness after drafting him in the first round. They also found a safety who displays a mean streak. That's a good thing -- as long as it doesn't hurt his team -- and something long overdue from that position.

The Vikings have lacked a safety who punishes receivers over the middle. Someone who is willing to swoop in and belt ball carriers. Someone who might actually make opponents take notice and give them something to think about as they study film that week.

Smith has played only five NFL games and already has earned a reputation for being salty.

He nearly fought Percy Harvin the second week of training camp. He drew a $21,000 fine for an unnecessary-roughness penalty against San Diego in the preseason after the league ruled he struck a defenseless player in the head and neck area. He jarred the ball loose from Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson in the end zone last week on a blow to the gut.

Smith made two nice plays Sunday before his ejection. On the Titans' second possession, he read a underneath route by Kendall Wright perfectly and popped him on third down. Smith recovered a fumble later in the first quarter.

His day ended not long after that, though, which put the Vikings in a pickle because they had only two healthy safeties left available. Starter Mistral Raymond is still sidelined because of a dislocated ankle, and backup Andrew Sendejo also was inactive (ankle). Robert Blanton replaced Smith and held up fine, but the Vikings will be in a bind next Sunday at Washington if Smith is suspended this week.

"We have to learn from that, and it's just not smart," Frazier said. "Not smart football."

Smith knew that as soon as it happened. There's a difference between being physical and foolish, and he crossed that line. The rookie is an emotional player who doesn't shy away from contact, but he won't make that mistake again.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Vikings crush Titans, go to 4-1

    Monday October 8, 2012

    The final minutes Sunday gave the Vikings an opportunity to take some chances and put an exclamation point on a lopsided victory over Tennessee.

  • Souhan: New standards raise Vikings' credibility

    Monday October 8, 2012

    It wasn't long ago that you could question the soundness of Adrian Peterson's knee, Percy Harvin's mood, Leslie Frazier's schemes and Christian Ponder's résumé.

  • It was this play after an Antoine WInfield interception in the 2nd qua...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 79 4th Qtr
Memphis 81
San Antonio 72 4th Qtr 8:54
New Orleans 77
Charlotte 54 3rd Qtr 0:49
Oklahoma City 78
LA Lakers 42 3rd Qtr
Dallas 48
Minnesota 35 2nd Qtr 5:56
Denver 36
Philadelphia 9:00 PM
Portland
Phoenix 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 17 3rd Qtr
UCF 10
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close