Dashon Goldson calls his $100,000 fine “a wake-up call,” but he says it will not change the way he plays.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety won his appeal of a one-game suspension for flagrant and repeat violation of player safety rules, accepting the fine instead. He practiced with his team Wednesday and is eligible to play in a Week 3 matchup against the New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
“I think that’d be a wake-up call to anybody,” Goldson told reporters. “That’s a lot of money. But at the same time . . . I can’t go out there and play timid. I know I’m not a dirty player. Our coaches do a good job here of implementing tackling in our drills every day. We go through tackling drills every day. I think those guys do a good job of explaining the proper technique of how to get a guy on the ground.”
He was originally suspended after a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles in a loss Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The appeal was heard by Matt Birk, who considers appeals of on-field player punishment for the NFL and NFL Players Association.
NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks had communicated the suspension in a letter to Goldson on Monday that said, in part, “You had an unobstructed path to your opponent. It is clear that you lowered your head and unnecessarily rammed the left side of your helmet into the left side of your opponent’s head. . . . This illegal contact clearly could have been avoided.”
On Wednesday, Goldson was pleased to hear the decision was overturned.
“(We) had a good argument, I felt,” he said. “(I) explained my side. They went ahead and explained the rule, and we met halfway, pretty much, on the deal. The good thing is I’m not suspended. I get to play this week, which is the most important thing. . . . I’m an aggressive player. We all know that, across the league. My intentions are never to go out and hurt anyone. I try to keep my hits within the rules. That’s what I’m going to do week in and week out, try to get guys on the ground, (but) at the same time, I’ve got to be careful.”
Goldson has drawn 15 personal fouls from 2010 until Monday, more than any other player in the NFL. He has been flagged five times for unnecessary roughness since 2011. He was fined $30,000 for a blow he delivered on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland in a Week 1 loss at MetLife Stadium.
Goldson, 28, signed a five-year, $41.25 million deal with the Bucs in March. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said the team considered the seven-year veteran’s physical history before signing him and added coaches have worked on his technique.
“I don’t want to be in this position. He doesn’t want to be in this position,” Schiano said. “It’s something that we’ve got to work very hard on. We did after Week 1. We’ve got to get it corrected, because we can’t afford to lose him. We want to play the game within the rules.”
Goldson will have that chance the rest of the week.
“I have to take my shots when they present themselves, cleanly — no launching, of course, (and) no hats-on-hats — just making sure I get the guy down on the ground and do it properly,” Goldson said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of eyes on me from now on and that’s OK. I’ve just got to be smart. I’m not trying to hurt our team, and I’m definitely not trying to hurt myself or another player.”