HOUSTON – One day after using the word spying when referring to the New England Patriots, Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith apologized for creating the controversy.
“When has America become so serious? No sense of humor. I realize now that everyone loves the Patriots,” Smith said on Monday. “I’m sorry I said the word spying because of a prior engagement of them being caught spying.”
After Sunday’s 34-31 loss, Smith told reporters that he found it to be “miraculous” that the Patriots had figured out the new “wrinkles” the team had put into their defensive scheme.
Today, he clarified those comments.
“I definitely said it but you have to check in the manner that I said it in and in the matter that I said it in, I didn’t use it in the manner of accusing them of beating us with cheating techniques,” Smith said with a smile. “Y’all with me all the time and we laugh and we joke so you can still say things that you may have some sort of curiosity about and still be joking about it.”
Smith said he didn’t realize that what he said would cause such commotion.
“I was definitely surprised about it. I didn’t think anything else about it after we talked here yesterday,” Smith said. “I woke up this morning and everybody wanted to kill me on Instagram.”
For his part, head coach Gary Kubiak played down the comments and gave credit to the Patriots when asked after practice.
“I have the utmost respect for their organization, their players, their coaches, their head coach,” Kubiak said. The standard that they’ve been setting for a long, long time in this league, they did a great job yesterday, been doing it a long time.”
At one point during his session with the media, Smith even answered a phone call, pretending that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was on the other line.
“Hey Belichick, I’ll holler at you in a little bit man, yeah I know, G15 classified," Smith said with a laugh."
The NFL veteran made it clear throughout the interview that what he said wasn’t an accusation, but just an extension of who he is.
“I’m always joking. I didn’t mean any of it. I was talking to y’all like I would be talking to my boys on the sideline,” Smith told reporters. “It wasn’t a serious matter where I thought ‘Man, they’re spying on us, they’re cheating on us’ to a point where it would get to a big story about me accusing them of cheating. It’s me being me.”