Armond Smith
Carolina Panthers running back Armond Smith was ejected from the team's Thursday's night preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens after kicking linebacker Albert McClellan in the groin. ESPN Screenshot

Carolina Panthers running back Armond Smith may have just hindered his quest to earn a spot on the team’s opening day roster. The third-year player was ejected from the Panthers’ preseason matchup with the Baltimore Ravens after kicking another player in the groin.

The incident occurred after Smith’s first carry in the Panthers’ 34-27 victory over the Ravens on Thursday, USA Today’s For The Win blog notes. Smith rushed to the left for a 10-yard gain before being tackled by Ravens linebacker Albert McClellan. As he stood up from the hit, Smith kicked McClellan in the groin, earning a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game. For The Win has a GIF of the groin kick, via Diehard Sport.

McClellan wasn’t injured by the kick to the groin, and restrained himself from seeking retaliation. “Yeah, he kicked me, he got me,” McClellan told the Baltimore Sun after the game. “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.”

Smith’s groin kick may have gotten him ejected from the game, but Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was quick to note that the action wasn’t indicative of the 27-year-old’s personality. “Armond is such a good, solid young person for something like this to happen,” Rivera told the Baltimore Sun. “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.”

A graduate of Union College in Kentucky, Smith made his NFL debut in 2011 as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He signed with the Panthers before the 2012 season and saw limited action in four games. The 27-year-old has recorded just six rushing attempts in his two NFL seasons.