NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Bernard Pollard isn’t happy about his latest fine, and he isn’t hiding his feelings.
“It stinks,” the Titans safety said of the $42,000 fine the NFL levied on him for his hit against Houston receiver Andre Johnson.
Pollard said he has been fined so many times by the NFL that he has lost track. The veteran added that he would have been fined at least $100,000 or suspended if he leveled a receiver the way Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson did.
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“It would have been bad,” Pollard said Wednesday.
The NFL fined Pollard and Jackson the same $42,000, though Pollard said league officials told him he did everything right on the hit against Johnson. But Pollard was fined for hitting a defenseless receiver when a flag wasn’t thrown.
He said the NFL wants defenders playing “flag football.”
“I’m not going to allow them to change the way that I play football,” Pollard said. “Like I said, it stinks. The bad part about us as players, for the fans, for the coaches, for the refs, it’s a lot of gray area. Refs don’t know what to call, what not to call. It was a no call, now you come back and fine me $42,000 for what? For me to go make a play that was legal.”
Pollard is appealing the fine.
He said teammates reminded him that the No. 31 with Tennessee already has a history thanks to former cornerback Cortland Finnegan, plus Pollard’s own history. Finnegan was fined $25,000 by the NFL for fighting with Johnson in 2010.
The hit in last week’s 30-24 overtime win by Houston left Johnson with a concussion after Pollard helped knock him out of bounds near the goal line late in regulation.
Jackson’s hit featured the Houston cornerback leaving his feet and hitting Titans receiver Kendall Wright in the head. Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Wright finished the game but did not practice Wednesday because of a headache that started Tuesday.
Munchak said he thought Jackson’s hit was “much nastier,” and the Titans coach also said he thought it was a good hit by Pollard using his shoulder.
“We got to be smart,” Munchak said. “We’ve got to keep lowering our hits so we don’t have those things happen.”
Pollard let fans know he had been fined on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing that they want “2 hand touch.” The veteran safety has been fined several times before, including for a late hit in the preseason opener in August. He noted he has been fined as much as $75,000.
The safety said the game is too fast for a committee changing rules trying to force defenders to think before hitting players. Pollard said the NFL could let offenses operate against air and see what that does to TV ratings.
He also recommended using replays for hits to review plays during games, and Pollard said he’s not sure what the NFL wanted him to do instead of helping cornerback Jason McCourty try to stop Johnson.
“I guess they want me to have him stay up and go score,” Pollard said.