The NFL fined Tennessee Titans cornerback Samari Rolle $7,500 for his hit on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell two weeks ago.
Rolle was upset by the league ruling and what he called too much lobbying by Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin over the hit that landed Brunell a concussion and eventually out of the game, won 23-14 by the Titans.
“It’s bull----, really. I honestly feel like that if I’d known I was going to get fined, I’d have gone ahead and gotten my money’s worth, rather than trying to go ahead and play within the rules and still be fined,” Rolle said. “I feel like Tom Coughlin made such a big deal out of that they had to assess a fine.”
Rolle said he plans to appeal the fine to the league in hopes of having it either overturned or reduced.
Both he and Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that Brunell’s decision on the play led to the hit.
“Being as he was left-handed and he was rolling to his right, he’s been in the league long enough to where he can’t throw across his body and not expect to be hit,” Rolle said.
Fisher agreed that, despite the responsibility to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact lying solely with the defensive player, that Brunell’s choice did play a part in the hit.
Asked if he’d tell Rolle to do anything differently on the play where Rolle initially made contact with his shoulder and forearm just after Brunell threw the ball away, Fisher said, “I’d tell the quarterback to do something different actually. I’d tell the quarterback to go down, get out of bounds. Don’t try to throw across your body and those types of things.
“Now, Mark made the decision to try and make a play, and you’re going to get hit when someone is bearing in on you. It was not intentional. Samari didn’t try to intentionally hurt him. It was a clean play, in my opinion, and there are many, many other plays in this league that are clean that are fined because of helmet-to-helmet contact.”
Rolle, who has never been fined before in his four-plus NFL seasons, said he would continue to play in the same manner, despite the fine.
“Of course, I’ll appeal, and if I win, great, and if I don’t, I’ll move on,” Rolle said. “I’m still going to play the same way.”
Rolle said he felt fortunate in a way. On a play from the same Sunday, Denver Broncos safety Kenoy Kennedy was suspended from this past Sunday’s game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers on a pass play. Kennedy laid a vicious lick on Chambers’ jaw after Chambers was pushed down on the play by former Titan Denard Walker.
“I feel bad for a guy like Kenoy Kennedy. They’re really being penalized,” Rolle said. “I feel lucky in a sense, though.”
Fisher said he agreed with the spirit of the rule regarding helmet-to-helmet contact to protect players, but added that Rolle did nothing blatantly wrong.
“I would not ask any of our defensive players to be less aggressive,” Fisher said. “Any player who is trying to make a play in the field of play, you have to try and tackle him. Samari didn’t do anything wrong. Samari, in the league’s opinion, violated the rule that says you can’t have helmet-to-helmet contact on the quarterback. That’s all he did. There was not any malicious intent there. Samari does not have any track history of it … he was simply trying to make a play.”
Back to work
The Titans were back on the practice field Monday in preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals, all except third-team quarterback Billy Volek, who was excused to be with his wife for the birth of their third child.
Among the Titans not practicing Monday were fullback Greg Comella, defensive end Carlos Hall and linebackers Randall Godfrey and Rocky Boiman.
Godfrey, who got a second opinion on his injured ankle during the bye week, should be back on the practice field Wednesday.
Wide receiver Derrick Mason practiced again Monday and should be a go Sunday. Fisher also said Comella has “a chance” of returning as well.