GREEN BAY, Wis. — Finally, the Packers have gotten through a game without a player being fined.
The streak of four consecutive games ended when safety Morgan Burnett did not receive a fine from the NFL this week. In Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions, Burnett was flagged for unnecessary roughness early in the third quarter when he hit wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
“I felt like I was just making a play on the ball, trying to make a stop,” Burnett said Friday at his locker. “Then when I saw it on film, I felt like, in my opinion, that you could see that I wasn’t trying to helmet-to-helmet the guy. I felt like everything would be fine, that there wouldn’t be a fine or anything like that.”
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Packers tight end Ryan Taylor was fined $21,000 for a non-flagged block on Nov. 4 that the NFL deemed illegal. In the next game, linebacker Brad Jones was fined $15,750 for hitting Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the head area. Then, safety Jerron McMillian was fined $21,000 for a late hit on Giants tight end Martellus Bennett. And last week, cornerback Tramon Williams was fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness due to a sideline helmet-to-helmet hit on Vikings running back Toby Gerhart.
“I think (the NFL) has got a hit out on us,” McMillian told FOXSportsWisconsin.com on Nov. 29. “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 hard.
“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.”
Burnett was thankful to avoid his first-ever fine, but the uncertainty surrounding player safety in the NFL has made it difficult for players to predict what will and won’t be a finable offense.
“The league sends out videos about proper hits, legal hits and illegal hits, so going through training camp you’re just training your body just to play fast, make sure you hit that target area,” Burnett said. “But I guarantee you that’s not going through your head, you’re not thinking about, ‘Oh, maybe I have to slow it down a little bit.’ You’re just trying to play hard and make a stop for your team.”