Inside the Ravens' locker room late Thursday night, linebacker Albert McClellan was nursing a sore leg after being kicked hard by Panthers running back Armond Smith.
Smith was promptly ejected for this action captured on video during the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 34-27 loss to the Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. It was flagrant enough that Smith is likely to be fined by the league office.
McClellan, who tackled Smith after a 10-yard gain, wasn't injured on the play, which triggered a 15-yard penalty. McClellan said it was a misunderstanding that prompted the incident. He said he thought about retaliating, but maintained his composure.
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"Yeah, he kicked me, he got me," McClellan said. "I think he thought I was holding him down. Our legs got tangled up. He hopped up and kicked me. I did my best to keep my cool."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera described the incident as uncharacteristic behavior from Smith.
"Armond is such a good, solid, young person for something like this to happen," Rivera said. "He told me, 'Coach, he twisted on me.' And that's unfortunate because that's not the type of character that he is. He's disappointed, and he's very apologetic.
"And I know the league will have something to say about it. But just knowing who Armond is, that's a tough one for him to swallow because that's not his character. And that was most certainly out of his character."