The act was in plain view of the camera and the referee, who swiftly tossed Smith out of the game and charged the Panthers with a 15-yard penalty.
McClellan wasn’t injured on the play and did his best not to escalate the situation.
“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.”
Smith pleaded his case to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who described the incident as uncharacteristic behavior by 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.”
Panthers defeated the Ravens at home 34-27 at M&T Bank Stadium.