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Brian Urlacher on NFL fines: “I think it’s bull”

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Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher hasn’t personally been affected by the league’s crackdown on hits to the head, but that doesn’t mean he’s not bothered by it.

“It hasn’t changed what I do, it hasn’t changed what our defense does,” Urlacher said this morning on ESPN Radio. “You’ve got to be a little more aware, I guess, but we don’t want to be aware of how we hit someone or where we can hit him or the timing or that.”

But Urlacher then continued that since he doesn’t want to have to think about how he’s going to hit someone during a game, he certainly doesn’t want to have to think about whether he’s going to be fined days later.

“I think it’s bull, the way they’re doing it,” Urlacher said. “The thing I don’t like about it is, if they say it, you pay the fine. That’s all there is to it. And I don’t know who makes the decision. I don’t know if there’s one guy, two guys, but I don’t think it’s fair. I think we should have a panel of guys who look at those hits and go over them.”

There’s nothing surprising about those complaints, which echo the complaints of many defensive players in the league this season. But it was a little surprising — and refreshing — to hear Urlacher speak up on behalf of lower-paid players who are often given fines just as big as their higher-paid teammates.

“I think the money’s outrageous,” Urlacher said. “Why can’t there be different levels of fines? A league minimum guy getting fined 50 grand? That’s a lot of money for him. Making 300 grand a year getting almost a fifth of his paycheck gone? I can go on all day about this because it frustrates me when I see these hits and these guys getting fined.”

On that score, Urlacher makes a great point, a similar point to the one raised by Erin Henderson of the Vikings, who said fines should be a percentage of a player’s income. Henderson is still playing on the contract he signed as an undrafted rookie in 2008, so in his case the idea was self-serving. But the suggestion carries more weight coming from a highly paid player like Urlacher.

So here’s hoping the NFL listens to Urlacher on that front. Even if we already know that Urlacher and the league office disagree sharply on the broader issue of helmet-to-helmet hits.

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34 Responses to “Brian Urlacher on NFL fines: “I think it’s bull””
  1. knucklebucket says: Dec 1, 2010 9:55 AM

    That is a great idea on the percentage of pay fine. It’s only fair to the guys who are signed off the street to play a very violent game for not a lot of money in comparison to some of the other players. Then to only be fined when they play the game with vigor and speed. The NFL really needs to work this all out.

  2. camprobot says: Dec 1, 2010 9:57 AM

    Here’s an idea.
    If you don’t like it, find another job that doesn’t pay millions of dollars to play a game of football.
    It must be so hard to play a game without leading with your damn helmet potentially ending someone’s career. I mean, how do all those other hundreds of football players do it every week? I don’t see them getting fined.

    Christ, these guys are such babies it makes me sick.

    People that work 18 hours a day saving people’s lives make a minuscule percentage of what these dbags make.

  3. myspaceyourface says: Dec 1, 2010 9:58 AM

    Seymore punches Ben in the face $25,000 fine

    Harrison hits a QB in the chest $25,000 fine

    Johnson and the leprechaun full blown fight $25,000 fine

    A. Samuels hit $40,000 fine

    Harrison hit on Massiquioa $75,000 fine

    It doesn’t add up. . . . . A punch in the face is the same penalty as a football hit to the chest, which apparently is the same as a full blown brawl on the field.

    I guess Harrisons hit on Massiquioa was 3 times more egregious than punches being thrown. Hmmmmmmm

    Something needs to be done.

  4. dman19 says: Dec 1, 2010 10:01 AM

    Goodell has single handedly ruined the NFL..2010 The year the NFL died…R.I.P.

  5. luvthatdirtywatah says: Dec 1, 2010 10:09 AM

    I was already set to agree w/Urlacher until I read camprobot’s post. He’s (crobot) 100% correct IMO.

  6. laxer37 says: Dec 1, 2010 10:13 AM

    Very strange that a tackle where the defender puts his facemask into the chest of a player is a textbook form tackle in every level of football but the NFL.

    There is obviously something going on here that we are not aware of because these fines do not add up.

  7. thejuddstir says: Dec 1, 2010 10:14 AM

    “dman19 says:
    Dec 1, 2010 10:01 AM
    Goodell has single handedly ruined the NFL..2010 The year the NFL died…R.I.P.”
    ——————————-

    I couldn’t agree more. Goodell’s actions have further the efforts to take football from a sport to pure entertainment. The offensive “stars” (Brady, Manning, A. Johnson, A. Rodgers etc.) receive maximum protection (by wearing skirts) and guys who play football the way it was intended to be played (Harrison, Urlachler, H. Ward, etc. etc.) get fined for even looking at a offensive player. I would love to hear Goodell’s explanation on his “rationale” (sic) on the slap on the wrist to A. Johnson for beating the hell out of a player after ripping his helmet off and after the whistle but yet lay the wood to guys like Harrison and other defensive players who make their “hits” on the field of play before the whistle sounds and as an instinctive move v. A. Johnson who was strictly taking his frustrations (over a couple of years of being shut down by the scumbag Finnegan) with an intentional, dirty, cowardly action after the whistle had stopped play??????? A 25grand fine to a superstar making the big bucks is pennies to the rest of us and will hardly serve as any kind of deterrent. Come on Goodell, let ‘em play football!!!!!

  8. nopuntintended says: Dec 1, 2010 10:19 AM

    @ camprobot/”dbag”

    Can you eve read? The article clearly started that Urlacher hasn’t been fined at all. All he was suggesting was that a 50k or 25k fine is A LOT of cash if you’re a fella making the league minimum (300k).

    Imagine if someone showed up at your work and stripped a 6th of your paycheck.

    Don’t be so stupid as to think he said “durrrr i want to lead with my head”, maybe you should…I dunno…read the article?

  9. thejabronisayz says: Dec 1, 2010 10:20 AM

    @myspaceyourface:

    “I guess Harrisons hit on Massiquioa was 3 times more egregious than punches being thrown. Hmmmmmmm.”

    ———————————-

    Actually it was. I punch might give a guy a black eye, a bruised lip, etc. Harrison’s hit on Massiquioa could have led to a serious concussion or possibly even worse. There’s clearly a bigger threat associated with illegal hits.

    Andre Johnson got about three punches in on Cortland and he was fine. Massiquioa and DeSean Jackson were down and out for the count. This shows that illegal hits are certainly “3 times more egregious,” at least, then punches are.

  10. jpiro says: Dec 1, 2010 10:24 AM

    They were hasty to implement the fines this year, and really need to overhaul the system in the offseason.

    I’m all for protecting players, but the way it’s being done is unjust and I truly feel bad for defensive players who have to decide in seconds whether making a play might cost them $50K a few days later.

  11. comeonnowguys says: Dec 1, 2010 10:30 AM

    “I guess Harrisons hit on Massiquioa was 3 times more egregious than punches being thrown. Hmmmmmmm

    Something needs to be done.”

    Yep. Cause previous history has nothing to do with it.

    That said, Finnegan should have been suspended and fined, Johnson should have gotten a big fine with no suspension. IMO.

  12. The James Harrison Foundation says: Dec 1, 2010 10:34 AM

    Quick question. Who has more credibility Brian Urlacher or Steelers haters?

    Brian Urlacher: These fines are ridiculas
    Steelers haters: Shut up James Harrison stop leading with your head

    Urlacher: Thats a lot of money to fine a guy for 1 play
    Haters: You make millions of dollars playing football James stop complaining about losing $125,000

    Urlacher: There should be a panel to review these fines
    Haters: Polamalu doesnt know what hes talking about you can appeal a fine to a panel of judges

    Urlacher: Its not going to change the way I play on the field
    Haters: Tackle differently Harrison its as simple as that.

    My point? The people who lobby hardest against James Harrison have no idea what they are talking about. Steelers fans dont care what you have to say, you have 0 credibility and what you say doesnt change a single thing on the field. When a respected pro-bowl middle linebacker directly shoots down your argument you just look, well, dumb.

  13. steelerdynasty2010 says: Dec 1, 2010 10:37 AM

    i better see all the same steeler haters who jumped on T. Polamalu for making this EXACT SAME POINT!!! dont go run and hide because the article isnt about the Steelers. post here too and legitimize your persecution of Troy when he said it.

    @camprobot:
    you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth here. if your stance is that they make too much money to have an opinion on this, then why do you support the rules? if you dont like being hit that way, find a new job! doesnt that make the same amount of sense as your statement? i understand your frustration, but we cant make rules and policies based on your feelings about their earnings. i was a teacher for a short time so i can certainly appreciate your frustrations about the money they make, but that reflects more on the society we live in. i dont know what you do for a living, but i bet if someone dangled some of that NFL money in front of you (even if you HATED your job), you wouldnt turn it down because there are people more deserving.
    the real fact is that these helmet-to-helmet hits happen all the time. are you really trying to tell me that people are less likely to have a concussion from a h-to-h hit if they are carrying a football? are linemen (who experience these collisions at least 20 times a game) somehow immune to concussions? I think you’d agree that the answer to both questions is no, so why no protections for these guys? The bottom line is the league is trying to water down the game to allow for more explosive offenses (which is what they (goodell) believe is the only thing we want to see) because it puts asses in the seats. Look at who they are protecting with these rules (QBs and WR/TEs), no one else (unless a RB is attempting to catch a pass) Do no other positions get concussions? As evidenced by Goodell’s insistence on putting games in Europe and saying publicly he’d eventually like at least one team over there (where NFL Europe already failed miserably), he’s only about the bottom line revenues and will never support the purist/traditional way of playing football. He’s going to run the league into the ground with his nonsense.

  14. pvaz869 says: Dec 1, 2010 10:47 AM

    Brian… 50K is 1/6th of 300K

  15. kcfanatic says: Dec 1, 2010 10:53 AM

    Most of these plays are on defensless receivers. If the league changed the no contact after 5 yards rule back to the way it used to be there would be less (still some, but less) of these hits taking place. The rules while they favor offense have made it more dangerous for them. If you can only bump a player for 5 yards, then there becomes more of a separation between receiver and defender. The separation allows for the defender to “load up” for the big hit.

  16. tlloyd23 says: Dec 1, 2010 11:01 AM

    I just signed up for an account to comment to this…

    I am a Steelers fan but more importantly I am a football fan. Roger Goodell is ruining the NFL. The fines have no ryhme or reason. How do I explain to my 6 yr old that someone fist fighting on the field is not as bad as James Harrison tackling someone between the whistles.

    For those of you who state that stop leading with yoru helmet yadda yadda yadda…some players do, Merriweather’s hit earlier this season for example. But Harrison has done the same tackiling he has done for the past 4-5 years. He is tackling just like all the other players in the league. The hit this past weekend on Fitzpatrick was a LEGAL hit…he lead with his face mask into Fitzpatricks chest…with the helmets and facemasks being as big as they are, inncidental contact is going to happen. Sorry it is a physical game…that’s what they are paid for.

    As for the wipe football fans that complain they are paid more then me, they should follow the rules, etc…I am a fan and I pay to watch a physical game with big hits. Why pay to watch someone to throw 80 yds to an uncontested reciever that isnt allowed to be tackled until he makes sure he catches the ball and runs 5 yards to establish possession. the best games are Baltimore vs Pittsburgh…big hits, scoring in the upper teens to mid 20′s, and players that play the game how itis suppossed to be play…not this arena league/flag football combination the NFL is turning into…the Arena League wants to be the NFL…not the other way around…

    God Bless James Harrison and all the other players who are trying to keep football real!

  17. scorpiodsu says: Dec 1, 2010 11:09 AM

    pvaz869, true but its more than 1/6 or 1/5 after these guys pay taxes.

  18. donglongduck says: Dec 1, 2010 11:13 AM

    cant we all just get along…

  19. holeinone09 says: Dec 1, 2010 11:18 AM

    This shows what I have been saying, that there is a growing negative sentiment about what GODell is doing with these inconsistent and ridiculous fines. We should all be talking about this weekend’s games and not the stupid fines! The Steelers are playing the Ravens this Sunday night, followed by the Jets and Pats Monday night, yet GODell makes us spend time talking about his fines!

    Stop it already, huh GODell? You are killing the golden goose.

    GO STEELERS!!

  20. timtanium says: Dec 1, 2010 11:19 AM

    Its a contact sport. period. how bout they fine the offensive player for ducking and putting their head in the way of the hit. IF the Defensive players have to target low, then they should not allow offensive players to put there head low and allow the D to make a safe tackle so no one gets hurt, or they should recieve a fine too.(im being sarcastic for you idiots((mostly tom “skirt” brady fans)) that just got all upset)

    They should let the game be played the way it was intended to be played. Urlacher said it best… IF they want to take contact out of the game Just name it the NFFL, National Flag Football League. its complete BS.

    The league and owners want to maximize profits while fining its players all in the name of “player safety” so they can extend to 18 games and add a few zeros to their bottom line.

  21. packerrube13 says: Dec 1, 2010 11:19 AM

    pvaz869 says:
    Dec 1, 2010 10:47 AM
    Brian… 50K is 1/6th of 300K
    ————————————————–
    He said “almost 1/5.” Which oddly, is accurate.

    But way to get the big picture Pvaz.

  22. faulkana says: Dec 1, 2010 11:21 AM

    When I get a speeding ticket in my Corolla, I have to pay the same fine that the guy in the Lamborghini with the scarf around his neck has to pay.
    My point?
    I have to be extra careful until I make the big bucks too.
    I’m just sayin’.

  23. CKL says: Dec 1, 2010 12:33 PM

    #
    kcfanatic says: Dec 1, 2010 10:53 AM

    Most of these plays are on defensless receivers. If the league changed the no contact after 5 yards rule back to the way it used to be there would be less (still some, but less) of these hits taking place. The rules while they favor offense have made it more dangerous for them. If you can only bump a player for 5 yards, then there becomes more of a separation between receiver and defender. The separation allows for the defender to “load up” for the big hit.
    ______________________________
    This is an extremely interesting thought that deserves further consideration by the NFL. It makes a lot of sense.

  24. ntea6 says: Dec 1, 2010 12:36 PM

    That’s funny b/c Urlacher kind of looks like “Bull” from Night Court

  25. urworstnitemare58 says: Dec 1, 2010 12:41 PM

    It won’t be long that the NFL wil be like pro wrestling. It will be fake and Goodell will run around shooting his mouth off like Vince McMan and start scripting the games. That way they will know who will be making the tackles and all they will have to do is touch them and they fall over .

  26. rushmatic says: Dec 1, 2010 12:42 PM

    camprobot says:

    Here’s an idea.
    If you don’t like it, find another job that doesn’t pay millions of dollars to play a game of football.
    It must be so hard to play a game without leading with your damn helmet potentially ending someone’s career. I mean, how do all those other hundreds of football players do it every week? I don’t see them getting fined.

    Christ, these guys are such babies it makes me sick.

    People that work 18 hours a day saving people’s lives make a minuscule percentage of what these dbags make.
    ______________________________

    Wow, you must be so tough in real life. I might hide after I say this: Shut up, ya judgmental douche. You have no idea what these guys go through.

  27. 54bear55 says: Dec 1, 2010 1:07 PM

    It’s nice that he is sticking up for other players, but Urlacher has consistently been proof that effective tackling doesn’t need to be dirty. He is possibly the most fundamentally sound tackler in the league, and he knows enough to take care of himself by not leading with his head (and thus not hurting other players). Hopefully we see a return to good, fundamental tackling where defenders are taught to keep their head up or to the side in order to keep themselves and their targets safe.

  28. thejuddstir says: Dec 1, 2010 1:55 PM

    Damn I wish for the days of “Pete Rozelle”, when football was football, a man’s game where they didn’t wear skirts and fine a player for making a tackle, where the rules weren’t overhauled just to add more offense to the game, players played with broken bones and didn’t sit out for 3 wks with a hangnail, where team and pride were more important than “me and my salary”, where there were no T.O.’s and other crybabies, where a 1,000 yd rusher meant something besides about 60 yds per game, where wr’s could be knocked around until the ball was in the air, no “in the grasp”, no “excess celebrations”, no ‘roids, no “look at me with my long blonde hair or dreds”, where team owners were seldom seen and never heard, where coaches coached and owners shut the hell up, ……….now it’s Rodger Goodell and his effort to make the NFL like All-Star wrestling, all show and no go.

  29. jacepaul says: Dec 1, 2010 2:16 PM

    I have the solution….. NFL Flag Football!!! Everything settled!!!

  30. fellorio says: Dec 1, 2010 2:47 PM

    #
    urworstnitemare58 says: Dec 1, 2010 12:41 PM

    It won’t be long that the NFL wil be like pro wrestling. It will be fake and Goodell will run around shooting his mouth off like Vince McMan and start scripting the games. That way they will know who will be making the tackles and all they will have to do is touch them and they fall over .
    ———————————————————
    That’s all well and good, but will the Stillers win?

  31. nofunleague says: Dec 1, 2010 5:28 PM

    On a receiver the defender must must lead with their hands/arms extended and the defender may not leave his feet. Just like hockey. you can still knock a guy on his ass, and you will be more in control because your feet are on the ground. Problem solved. If anyone gets hurt this way, too bad.

  32. jchri66 says: Dec 1, 2010 6:42 PM

    Watching the Patriot game this last week I noticed a lot of Patriot offensive guys leading with the head. Don’t understand why they seem to just pick on the defenses.

  33. sanjose61 says: Dec 1, 2010 7:06 PM

    Speaking purely from a financial standpoint, Upon further review (as an NFL ref would say), James Harrison’s six-year contract has an average compensation of $8.53 million per year. So based on that, his $150K worth of fines is .018% of his annual pay. For a person making the average per capita income in the United States, $39,000, that is the equivalent of a $7 fine. I repeat, a $7 fine.

    In other words, yes. These sorts of fines should be based on a percentage of the players earnings.

  34. deweyaxewound says: Dec 2, 2010 5:43 PM

    camprobot says:
    Dec 1, 2010 9:57 AM
    Here’s an idea.
    If you don’t like it, find another job that doesn’t pay millions of dollars to play a game of football.
    It must be so hard to play a game without leading with your damn helmet potentially ending someone’s career. I mean, how do all those other hundreds of football players do it every week? I don’t see them getting fined.

    Christ, these guys are such babies it makes me sick.

    People that work 18 hours a day saving people’s lives make a minuscule percentage of what these dbags make.
    ___________________________________

    This just reeks of class envy–you must be a liberal.

    While would you fault any man for using his God-given talents to earn what he can, while doing what he wants? By definition, a person is “worth” whatever they can make–and if they can make that amount, then they deserve that amount.

    As long as that earned living is legal, moral, and doesn’t hurt you or anyone else–why do you care?

    And why in God’s name are you spending your time reading/commenting on a pro football site, if you find it all so detestable? Shouldn’t you be out looking for a different/better job and improving your own life, instead of complaining about how good other people have it?

    THIS is the precise attitude that’s ruining this country: everyone is entitled to something, no one can be better or have more than anyone else, right?

    Here’s a novel concept: how about you go out and work to improve your own situation, instead of being such a victim?

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