The NFL Tuesday did as they promised, and took action against three players who laid jarring hits on their opponents this past weekend. Huge fines were laid down to Steelers LB James Harrison ($75,000), Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather ($50,000) and Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson ($50,000).
Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, stated on Monday that suspensions could start immediately for any future hits from players around the league like those that were laid down Sunday.
Ravens tight end Todd Heap took a vicious hit from Meriweather on Sunday and called it “one of those hits that shouldn’t happen.” Robinson and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson were knocked out of their game after a collision in which the Falcons’ cornerback launched himself head first to make a tackle. Both sustained concussions.
Harrison was punished for his hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Harrison’s hit on Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs didn’t figure in the fine, although it also caused a concussion.
The agent for Harrison, Bill Parise, called the $75,000 fine “staggering” and said it would be appealed. He emphasized that neither play drew a penalty. “I’ve talked to James, and he’s very upset,” Parise said. “He’s quite confused about how to play football.”
Robinson said he, too, will appeal.
“I am disappointed by the NFL’s ruling,” Robinson said in a statement released by his agent. “I recognize the goal is to protect all players — from the Pee Wee level on up — however, this was a bang-bang hit situation where I did not lead with my helmet, and therefore I will appeal. Although it was a violent hit, my hit did not violate the NFL’s rules, and I was playing the game the way I always have. I am not a dirty player and have never been characterized as one.”