New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, arrested early Saturday morning in Lafayette, La., on a domestic-abuse charge, said in a statement Tuesday that the incident was "an unfortunate misunderstanding" and that he was "confident that the legal process" would clear his name.
Police in Lafayette said Smith and his wife, Racquel, were involved in an argument while leaving a nightclub at 2 p.m., that officers saw the argument escalate, then saw Smith grab his wife by the hair. Police Cpl. Paul Mouton said in a press release that Racquel Smith suffered minor injuries.
In his statement, issued by the Saints, Smith said he and his wife were visiting her family for the holiday weekend, and that "my wife was not injured as reported, and this was not a domestic issue. I am confident that the legal process will bear this out.
"Both Racquel and I look forward to having the legal process play out and will cooperate fully. Until then, and based upon legal counsel, I will not be able to make any further comment on this matter. Racquel and I are both extremely thankful to everyone that has offered support through this trying time."
Smith has played in 10 of the reigning Super Bowl champions' 11 games this season, with a combined 26 tackles and 3.5 sacks after registering 49 tackles and 13 sacks last year. He had three tackles with a sack in the Saints' victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.