In his five seasons as a Houston Texan, from 2009 through 2013, defensive end Antonio Smith was one of the team's more popular players, both with the fan base as well as with the locker room. Even during the 2-14 debacle in 2013, Smith was always accountable and available. It's one of the reasons he was the rare NFL player who actually played every year of his lucrative second contract in the league without a restructure and without being cut.
When Smith was released one season into a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders a few months ago, many Texans fans again wanted their team to sign up for "Cowboy Ninja, Part II: The Antonio Sequel." After all, they could use a good 3-4 defensive end. Ultimately and probably not surprisingly, Smith chose to sign a deal with Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips in Denver, despite still making his home in the Houston area.
However, while Smith's career has moved on to the state of Colorado, it turns out he has legal business to attend to back here in Texas. TMZ reported earlier this morning that Smith is being investigated for alleged child abuse in Texas. Courtesy of TMZ:
We spoke with the Fort Bend County District Attorney, John Healey, who confirms the child abuse division is handling the case against Smith — though, so far, no charges have been filed.
Sources connected to the case tell us ... the accuser claims there are multiple incidents dating back to 2010.
We're told the case was first reported to officials in Colorado back in November — but the case was forwarded to Texas, because that's where the accuser says the alleged incidents took place.
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According to Healey, the county is trying to get to the heart of the allegations, telling TMZ, ""We're trying to discern the truth from the untruthfulness of the claim to decide what charges, if any, will be filed."
It is unclear what discipline Smith would face if he were charged with child abuse. Of course, the most high-profile case of child abuse charges involving an NFL player also took place in the Houston area last season, when Adrian Peterson was charged for child abuse in Montgomery County. He eventually pled down to a lesser charge, but ultimately missed all but the opener of the 2014 season while the case was being adjudicated and, subsequently, when the league suspended him through April 15 after his plea agreement was finalized.
Smith has not commented on these charges.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.