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Houston (CBS Houston) – As the Houston Texans wrap up their preparation for Sunday’s home opener against AFC South rival Tennessee Titans, the self-proclaimed “Ninja Assassin” is chomping at the bit to get back on that field.
“I used to be a caged animal,” Antonio Smith said Friday afternoon. “Now I’m a precision assassin.”
Smith is grateful to be back with his “brothers,” a phrase he used earlier in the week talking about his team, after serving his suspension for swinging his helmet at the Dolphins Richie Incognito during the Texans’ second preseason game.
“He’s glad to be back. It’s the most I’ve ever seen him smile in one day,” head coach Gary Kubiak said earlier in the week. “Just goes to show, makes you appreciate what you’re doing. I think he really does.”
Even though Smith is glad to be back, the Texans coaching staff have continued to push him hard in order to get Smith up to speed.
“It hasn’t been that much fun,” said Smith Friday. “Bill (Kollars) been trying to get me. He made it his mission to make sure he knows I’m in shape. Bill is just always going to be Bill. He’s going to tell me I’m out of shape no matter what. I’m definitely in shape.”
The Tennessee Titans have consistently been a run-first team and Sunday Smith will line up with J.J. Watt to give some much needed pressure to the Titans’ offense.
“He keeps the balance in what we’re doing with our front as far as pressure and where it’s coming from,” said Kubiak on Smith. “ Antonio’s another pass rush ability type of guy and helps us from a pressure situation. We had a little bit of a problem the other night getting there with our base stuff. It’ll be good to have him back in the mix.”
Antonio joked Friday that he hopes he doesn’t get too excited during Sunday’s game, “If I get a sack I might not even remember to do the ‘ninja’. I might just yell and scream and say thank you.”
As the Texans host the Titans Smith and company will be tested lining up across the tenth ranked rushing team in the NFL. If the ‘Ninja Assassin’ can get more pressure and a few ‘thanks’ at Reliant on Sunday, it might just make this time missed seem seamless.
Follow Julie Takahashi on Twitter: @Julie_Takahashi
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