Smith apologizes for heated outburst

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons head coach Mike Smith acknowledged the need for himself to behave better on the sideline in heated situations on Monday after one such situation with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton in Sunday’s 30-28 victory over Carolina.

With five seconds left to play and Carolina having a first down at its own 20, the Falcons only had 10 players on the field. Apparently, they were missing a defensive lineman.

Cameras on the FOX broadcast caught Smith’s tirade. Smith said he apologized to Hamilton, with whom he has coached for 10 years both in Atlanta and Jacksonville.

“I’ve got things I’ve got to do better in terms of managing the end of the game,” Smith said. “…There was something that happened and it was in the heat of the battle. I’ve had a conversation with coach Hamilton. We were trying to get 11 guys on the field. We only had 10 guys on the field. One thing I’m not going to do is I’m not going to have our team at a disadvantage before the snap and we were trying to make sure we handled the situation. We were able to get 11 people out there on the field and I try to be 100 percent. I wasn’t 100 percent yesterday. I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to be better.”

In 2009, Smith became involved in a heated exchange with former Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall in a game against Washington. The Falcons visit Washington on Sunday.

One thing Smith did not apologize for was his exploitation of a loophole in the rules. Noticing the Falcons only had 10 players on the field, Smith attempted to call timeout nonetheless aware that he no longer had any. Still, the delay allowed the Falcons to get an extra player on the field and John Abraham sacked Cam Newton to end the game.

Asked if he thought the competition committee should review the rule, Smith said, “I don’t know.”

Falcons CEO Rich McKay chairs the competition committee.