GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers rookie safety Jerron McMillian was fined $21,000 by the NFL for a late hit on tight end Martellus Bennett in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants.
For a third straight game, a Packers player has been fined by the NFL, and McMillian has noticed.
“I think (the NFL) has got a hit
out on us,” McMillian told FOXSportsWisconsin.com Thursday. “We’re trying to play a physical football
game, and it calls to be physical in this game of football. Just to have
rules and regulations on to how and to where to hit a player, it’s
“You want to go all out, you want to leave everything on
the field, but that’s a little bit of an aspect of the game they’re
trying to take away. They’re trying to take it away.”
Tight end Ryan Taylor was fined $21,000 for an illegal block
during a kickoff return against the Arizona Cardinals and linebacker
Brad Jones was fined $15,750 for striking Detroit Lions quarterback
Matthew Stafford near the head.
As for McMillian’s hit, he isn’t sure whether the fine was a result of the hit, or because of the way that Bennett reacted to the hit.
“I guess it’s for the well-being of whoever was down, because I guess he was crying and whatnot,” McMillian said. “I guess something was wrong with him, but it was a clean hit. I think they more so threw the flag because of his reaction instead of the actual contact.”
The play occurred midway through the fourth quarter of New York’s 38-10 win over Green Bay. On third down, Giants quarterback Eli Manning misfired on a pass attempt to Bennett in the end zone. A split-second later, McMillian connected on a hit to Bennett, which the referees flagged for unnecessary roughness.
After the game, Bennett told reporters that he was “pissed off,” adding, “I wanted to kick (McMillian’s) ass.”
However, McMillian, in his conversations with the Packers’ coaching staff, didn’t see it as a dirty play.
“They (the coaches) said, ‘I don’t know what else to tell you. I don’t want to change anything different about what you did,'” McMillian said. “‘You lowered your target, you led with your shoulder, it wasn’t helmet to helmet.’
“I don’t know what (the referees) are looking for me to do. I can’t pull up, I’m already coming full speed. You can’t just stop.”
McMillian, drafted by Green Bay in the fourth round this year, was known as a big hitter and consistent tackler coming out of the University of Maine. Given the Packers’ struggles with missed tackles last season, McMillian has done well in delivering the hits that were expected of him.
But this is the first time that the NFL has viewed one of McMillian’s hits as a fine-worthy offense.
“I was upset already, so whoever was going to be on the back end of me coming, and it was (Bennett), and they threw the ball to him, so I was just trying to make a play,” McMillian said. “I take pride in just being physical, just being a factor. Like, ‘Oh, dang, he’s back there hitting cats like that.’
“You’re going to try to hit him as clean as you can without crossing that line where it’s defenseless or helmet to helmet, but you always have to bring that physical aspect to the game.”
McMillian appealed the fine, but it may take up to a month before he finds out whether he’ll get to keep any of the $21,000 that the NFL plans to withdraw from his paycheck.