Harrison Smith will not be fined or suspended by NFL for pushing ref
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Harrison Smith quickly apologized for the actions that led to his ejection in Sunday's win over Tennessee, perhaps in hopes of convincing the NFL not to suspend him, too.
If that was the plan, it apparently worked.
Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday afternoon that Smith will not be suspended or fined for pushing aside back judge Steve Freeman, who was trying to defuse a confrontation between the rookie safety and Titans receiver Nate Washington after an Antoine Winfield interception.
Smith appeared upset as he was escorted off the field and apologized profusely after the game, saying he lost his head and that "I should never have been there. I just want to play next week and just help the Vikings win."
Asked how Smith could have avoided a fine, Frazier said: "That's a good question for the league there. I'm glad things worked out well."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail that Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, "determined the ejection was sufficient discipline."
Part of the reason for the lack of further action might have been the fact that Smith was ejected early in the second quarter and missed the final 41 minutes, 24 seconds of the game.
Frazier talked to Smith after the game about the play and reiterated Monday that the Vikings did not "condone" Smith's action.
"It's not smart football," Frazier said. "We have got be able to handle our emotions when things get awry, and he knows that. 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, being able to walk away from the situation and not cost our team a penalty or a potential dismissal from a game."
Smith avoided what could have been his second fine of the season. He was fined $21,000 in the preseason for a shoulder-to-head hit on San Diego wide receiver Mike Willie on a pass over the middle.
Vikings players were given Monday off and while a few showed up in the locker room during media access, Smith was not among them.
Judd Zulgad contributed