Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said Monday he was joking the previous day when he intimated that the New England Patriots spied on Houston's practices last week.
In the wake of the Patriots' 34-31 victory over the Texans on Sunday, Smith said it was "suspicious" that New England knew what was coming in the second half.
The Patriots scored 27 points on their first five possessions after halftime.
"Either teams are spying on us or scouting us," Smith said following the game. "I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance. I don't know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week. ... It was pretty clever and pretty suspicious."
Smith backed off Monday.
"It tickles me how much the country loves the Patriots so much they take everything so seriously," Smith told the Houston Chronicle. "I wasn't angry or serious and I didn't say that's why they beat us."
The reaction to Smith's Sunday remarks -- including New England quarterback Tom Brady saying on WEEI radio that the Patriots did nothing unethical to earn the win -- took Smith by surprise.
"I didn't think anything else about it after we talked until I woke up this morning and everybody wanted to kill me on Instagram," he said. "My teammates were telling me about ESPN. I don't really watch ESPN that much, but (the Houston players) pretty much got a good laugh out of it, me being the butt of everybody's jokes today. I had no idea it would have that (kind of) effect."
Earlier Monday, New England coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on Smith's spying allegations.