Maybe there's no need to worry about Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. getting into any more on-field trouble with the referees.
Smith now basically has the NFL's unsportsmanlike conduct rule memorized.
Smith was ejected from the Ravens' third preseason game after getting into a tussle with Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver. On Wednesday, he told reporters that he was fined by the NFL and is appealing.
"With my Rule 12 Section 3 fine, I'll be well in tuned of what they'll be looking for," Smith said. "Rule 12 Section 3: 'Do not attempt' – no. 'Do not punch, attempt, kick or forearm,' which I did neither, nor, thou, of."
Smith is surprisingly detailed about how the rule is actually written. The rule states that no contact has to be made for there to be a penalty. Replays show Smith grabbed Culliver's jersey, and tried to rip Culliver's arm off him, but did not throw any punches, kicks or forearms.
After his ejection and exit bow, Smith watched the rest of the game with his family from a suite inside M&T Bank Stadium. Smith's preseason exit was cheered and joked about afterwards, but the Ravens can't afford to lose their top receiver in a regular-season game.
The veteran's patience could be tested Sunday in Denver as he'll be going up against Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, the player Smith famously told to "Ice up, son" in 2013. As members of the Panthers and Patriots, respectively, Smith and Talib went at it all game long. Talib didn't finish the game and the Panthers won, so Smith got the last laugh.
On Tuesday, Harbaugh said he imagines the two will "let bygones be bygones" and play football. Smith didn't add any fuel to the fire.
"Talib, he's a good player," Smith said. "We've had our battles, but there's no animosity. It's high competitive juices going."
Asked how he tries to remain composed and not throw any punches during heated in-game situations, Smith shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm a hothead. So, I'm not sure," he said with a smile. "I have nothing to say, really. What's in the past is in the past. We're looking forward."
Smith has always been a feisty player on the field. It's part of what has made him one of the greatest receivers in league history.
Entering his final season, onlookers have noticed perhaps even more fire than usual. Smith was jawing at the Eagles in Philadelphia and brought his take-no-prisoners mindset even in preseason games.
"A way for Steve Smith to be more emotional? That's the question?" Head Coach John Harbaugh joked before being asked whether he worries that Smith may take it too far.
"I don't worry about Steve. Steve is a great competitor, a very mature guy. I believe Steve knows what he's doing. He knows how to get himself ready to play. He knows how to channel his energy – probably better now than ever in his career. We all work on that. Steve is going to be focused and ready to play football, and it's going to be about football."