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Antonio Smith child abuse allegations 'sexual in nature,' sheriff says

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New information in the child abuse allegations involving Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith have surfaced. If the allegations lead to a charge, Smith would face an immediate suspension of at least six games.

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Citing the Fort Bend County Sheriff's office, Mike Klis of 9NEWS has reported that the child abuse allegations levied against Broncos' defensive lineman Antonio Smith are "sexual in nature."

The story of the child abuse investigation involving Smith was first reported by TMZSports.

District Attorney John Healey Jr. in Fort Bend County, Texas, has since confirmed that allegations against Smith were originally reported to Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls in November 2014. Nehls conducted an investigation and turned over his findings to the DA's office in February.

At this particular point, anything in reference to Mr. Smith is just that - an allegation. -District Attorney John Healey, Jr.

No charges have been filed.

"At this particular point anything in reference to Mr. Smith is just that - an allegation," Healey told Klis.

The Broncos issued a statement late Thursday morning saying, "Last night, we became aware for the first time of an allegation involving Antonio Smith. We are now in the process of gathering more information."

The DA told the Denver Post there is "nothing imminent" with the investigation. "My office is working with the investigating agency to review their information and further their investigation," Healey said.

The District Attorney's investigation of the claims will determine whether the case is dismissed or a Grand Jury is called.

Smith signed with Denver April 2 on a one-year deal worth $2 million with a  $500,000 signing bonus. Only the signing bonus is fully guaranteed, provided Smith does not violate the NFL personal conduct policy.

If charges of child abuse are filed against Smith, he would be subject to a minimum six-game suspension without pay.

According to the NFL's new personal conduct policy approved last December, if charges of child abuse are filed against Smith, he would be subject to a minimum six-game suspension without pay.

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman is beginning his 12th NFL season, having played 156 career games and 133 starts. Drafted out of Oklahoma State in the fifth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2004, Smith joined the Houston Texans via free agency in 2009. He spent last season with the Oakland Raiders.

While boasting the third-highest pass rush with the Raiders according to Pro Football Focus grades, Smith also registered the worst run defense among any defensive tackle in 2014 by PFF.

Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2011.