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By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - If you weren't paying extra close attention during Sunday afternoon's Vikings game, you might have missed the fact that rookie safety Harrison Smith got ejected three and a half minutes into the second quarter. After all, the guilty party, Harrison Smith missed it too!
Having been in plain clothes for the past two hours, Smith talked to reporters after the game and said that he knew he had drawn a flag for putting his hands on the official but was already over sitting on the bench when a couple of his teammates walked up to him to inform him that he had been "disqualified" from the remainder of the game.
"It was just a stupid for me to be involved," Smith said after the game. "At the end of the day, you can never touch the officials. They have it hard enough as it is. It was just stupid, and it's something I don’t ever want to do from this point on."
Up until that point, Harrison was having a powerful impact on the Vikings' domination of the game. Through eighteen minutes of play, Smith had already racked up a fumble recovery and two tackles including one that nearly took off the head of Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright.
"From everything I've been told, it was a justifiable ejection," Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. "You can't touch the officials, it’s just not smart on our part doing that. We have to learn from that and it's just not smart, not smart football."
Looking back at the situation, Smith deduced that his first mistake was simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"My first mistake was getting into it with [the Titans]," Smith told KFAN radio after the game. "I saw Antoine get the interception and went to go celebrate with him. I saw one of the Titan guys push one of our guys, that was where I made my first mistake was getting into it with those guys. The ref came to separate me, and at the time I was looking at the Titans guys and moved the ref to the side. Totally stupid by me."
In looking back at a replay of the situation (see animated GIF above), it's no surprise that Smith reacted the way that he did. The official appeared to be "removing" Smith from the situation a little more aggressively than normal including stiff arming Smith with a hand up near the kid's neck. Still, there is no excuse for putting your hands on an official.
After the game, Smith was apologetic saying, "I apologize to the official, to the fans, to the coaches and obviously my teammates for what I did. It's just unacceptable to put the refs in a compromising position. I can't do that."
Following Smith's ejection, fellow rookie safety Robert Blanton came into the game to see his first extended playing time in the NFL. Blanton finished the game with four tackles and one assist, still the Vikings hope to keep their first round pick, Harrison Smith, on the field.
A situation that could work against Smith's cause was the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in attendance Sunday afternoon taking in the game from the stands so the situation is already on the radar of 'The Comish'. Smith will surely receive a hefty fine but Goodell and his staff will have to review the situation and make a ruling on whether or not Smith will be suspended for week six.
"I really hope to be out there [next week]," Smith told KFAN. "Just watching the guys out there and not being able to play with them really hurts. But at the end of the day, I made a stupid decision and I have to accept the consequences for it."
The Vikings, and hopefully Harrison Smith, take on the Washington Redskins from the nation's capitol next weekend.
CLICK HERE to see Photos from Sunday's Vikings/Titans game.
CLICK HERE to hear postgame audio from the Vikings Radio network including player interviews and Fanline.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN