Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith's appeal of his three-game suspension was denied by the NFL, NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Friday, per a source apprised of the decision. The team later confirmed the news.
"I thought we had an excellent chance to get him back the first week, but, like I said, I think our league's fair," Texans coach Gary Kubiak told reporters after practice Friday. "They look at everything, and they looked at this one and gave us our opportunity to present our case, and they made their ruling. ... We understand it. We accept it. As a team, we've got to get ready to meet the challenge."
Smith is suspended for the final two preseason games and the season opener for ripping off Richie Incognito's helmet and nearly striking the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman with it during Saturday's preseason game.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that the denial was expected. Smith's case was heard by NFL appeals officer Ted Cottrell, not by new appeals officer Matt Birk, according to Rapoport.