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Asante Samuel avoids fine for knocking out Sidney Rice

Asante Samuel, Quintin Mikell, Sidney Rice

When officials flagged Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel for unnecessary roughness after Samuel apparently applied a helmet-to-helmet hit to Vikings receiver Sidney Rice, it was presumed that Samuel would receive a stiff fine, especially since he previously was fined $50,000 (reduced to $40,000) for delivering an illegal hit to Giants receiver Derek Hagan.

Not so, reports Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.  A league spokesman told Pelissero that Samuel will receive no further punishment beyond the 15-yard penalty that was imposed by officials.

“It was helmet-to-helmet, but it’s part of the game,” Rice said of the hit that he believes knocked him out momentarily.  “You put it out there on the line.  Every week, you go out there and you play for your teammates, and you try to do what’s right.  So, I don’t know if it was intentional or what [Samuel's] thought process was, but it’s football.”

The league took the “it’s football” approach, but for reasons that aren’t apparently clear.

It’s possible that the NFL decided that Rice had possession of the ball long enough to no longer be “defenseless.”  In those situations, the rules are violated only when the defender performs a helmet-first launch.

It’ also possible that the league regarded the helmet-to-helmet contact as unavoidable and/or incidental, which would mark another departure from the supposed “strict liability” standard that V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson explained would apply after the rash of big hits that occurred on October 17.

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29 Responses to “Asante Samuel avoids fine for knocking out Sidney Rice”
  1. aaronrodgerschokes says: Dec 31, 2010 6:15 PM

    Goodell is soft. Samuel is a dirty player and everyone knows it.

  2. vaiking says: Dec 31, 2010 6:16 PM

    Sidney Rice lowered his head to brace for that hit, which is what caused the helmet to helmet hit. That’s the way I saw it anyway.

  3. pigbladder says: Dec 31, 2010 6:23 PM

    it seems like the goofballs at the league office are finally catching up to all the knee jerk reaction bull***t they have been throwing down. maybe they will back off and let some teams play some football in the postseason.

    but that is a load of crap and does nothing to help with the consistency, which is the main problem here. sending mixed signals but wanting changes.

  4. cornellsteelers says: Dec 31, 2010 6:25 PM

    The league is actually getting less consistent as the season goes on.

  5. steelerdynasty2010 says: Dec 31, 2010 6:40 PM

    wow…another interpretation of those “clear” rules!! cant wait to see what they add/subtract/reinterpret/make-up next.

  6. uncommon1 says: Dec 31, 2010 6:46 PM

    Thats a surprise. The League office showing some inconsistency in dealing with punishments?!?!

  7. johninpa says: Dec 31, 2010 6:50 PM

    So, for Asante Samuel it’s just football, but for James Harrison it’s a big fine. It seems certain players and teams get favorable treatment, others get the book thrown at them. It sure has taken a lot of the pleasure out of watching football. I’m thankful for hockey – tough players, lots of action and reasonable officiating.

  8. heyitsmejosh says: Dec 31, 2010 6:55 PM

    is this serious? samuel doesnt get fined for a blatant helmet to helmet and Mayo gets fined and they dont even know what play if twas on.

  9. jebdamone says: Dec 31, 2010 7:06 PM

    i agree that sid put his head down to absorb the contact, but in the past a hit like that has still garnered a fine. pretty random and very confusing considering the nfl’s hardcore stance to this point in the season. maybe they are coming to their senses, but if they also stick to their concussion policies they aren’t going to have a lot of the premiere players playing all of the time.
    i will likely not get to watch sid play in what could be his last game as a viking.

  10. tiffpats4eva says: Dec 31, 2010 7:52 PM

    He avoided it because he didn’t have on a Steelers uniform.

  11. rebelphotographer says: Dec 31, 2010 8:39 PM

    Ok, so Samuel is a “sissy who can’t tackle”, but also a “dirty” player?!? Explain that one to me.

    Also, when you’re the biggest pisser / moaner about the new rules before the season even starts the way Harrison was… He dug his own grave.

  12. belicheckyoself says: Dec 31, 2010 8:57 PM

    That was a clean hit, mostly chest pads.
    He’s a great D-back, except for one whiffed INT.
    The difference between this hit and more fined ones is where the lead impact point was located. Making this hit unacceptable makes the game unplayable. Bad call on the field, good call by the league for once.

  13. toddm6d says: Dec 31, 2010 9:19 PM

    I’d like to try “Starcaps” for $400, Alex.

  14. melikefootball says: Dec 31, 2010 9:19 PM

    The league office is so wishy washy it makes a fan sick. Some of the very type plays that have been fined this year and no fine here. Not only not fined but second such hit by Samuel that others have paid dearly for. No wonder you can’t get anything done with the lock out, God-Del. You single handly have ruined the experience of watching as a fan and playing as a player. Sleep well.

  15. rickah8888 says: Dec 31, 2010 9:35 PM

    I think the League, like the rest of us, is amazed that Samuel actually tackled someone!
    He typically dives and misses, as the intended player runs for a big gain,

  16. dailynorseman says: Dec 31, 2010 11:03 PM

    Had that been Antoine Winfield on DeSean Jackson, Winfield would have been fined $100,000 and be suspended for the season finale.

    Guess Goodell is just pissed that the Vikings put the kibosh on Michael Vick’s MVP coronation.

  17. gcsuk says: Jan 1, 2011 12:24 AM

    Andy Reid must have petitioned hard to get this fine knocked all the way down to nothing.

    Ridiculous when you compare it to all the fines that have been levied when there was NO FLAG. This one was just as blatant as pretty much any other hit that has garnered a fine this year.

    Way to go, Goodell. Keep ‘em guessing.

  18. gcsuk says: Jan 1, 2011 12:59 AM

    @belicheckyoself
    You might want to try watching that hit again. If Asante had hit him with “mostly chest pads” like you ascertain, then he probably wouldn’t have spent a few minutes on the field holding his head in his hands.
    I think that was caused by the fact that he hit Rice directly in the helmet with his own helmet. I do believe that is the definition of “helmet-to-helmet”.
    The only way that hit was “mostly chest pads” is if Asante strapped his chest pads to his helmet.

  19. tinopuno says: Jan 1, 2011 1:36 AM

    #
    aaronrodgerschokes says: Dec 31, 2010 6:15 PM

    Goodell is soft. Samuel is a dirty player and everyone knows it.

    ——————————————————

    “Everyone knows” Samuel is a dirty player?

    And now everyone who read your post knows you rode to school in the short bus.

  20. footballcoach17 says: Jan 1, 2011 2:25 AM

    Goodell and Anderson are a leadership joke and inconsistent as ever. Things cannot be so subjective. Have a rule or don’t have a rule, but get out of the game.

  21. contract says: Jan 1, 2011 4:22 AM

    The rules are perfectly clear …

    … or so I’ve heard.

  22. fkajames says: Jan 1, 2011 8:59 AM

    Even more ridiculous is that Joe Webb got fined $5K for a facemask on a stiff-arm. You don’t hit up Samuel for any $$ (a guy who is making millions, who led with his helmet and who knocked Sidney Rice “momentarily unconscious”), but you hit Joe Webb (getting paid the Pick #199 salary) for an inadvertent facemask on a stiff-arm? How does the league even possibly defend this as sensible or consistent?

    The Calvin Johnson TD-that-wasn’t-a-TD still is the most egregiously stupid call of the year, but this one just adds to the incredibly long list of NFL stupidity.

  23. richm2256 says: Jan 1, 2011 9:20 AM

    So, Assante Samuels DOESN’T get fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit (regradless of how it occurs, these are being fined regularly this year) but Jarod Mayo DOES get fined for a clean, legal “excessive”hit?

    The league is becoming an inconsistent laughing stock.

  24. bspn2 says: Jan 1, 2011 9:25 AM

    More preferential treatment by Roger GODell of former Cheatriot players.

  25. kissbillsrings says: Jan 1, 2011 9:37 AM

    I must admit I’m at a loss….the NFL hands out fines for non-flagged hits yet this player is flagged & goes unfined??!!! This makes ABSOLUTLY NO SENSE!!!! No wonder the refs blow this year…damned if you do & damned if you don’t!!!
    This & going to the ground catches needs to be cleaned up BIG TIME…..

  26. readingrugby says: Jan 1, 2011 10:29 AM

    LOL all you eagle haters i love it!!!!!!! hows samuel a dirty player if he cant tackle you i d i o t? hes a cover corner who has great instinks. hes not there to be a killer hitter… rice lowered his head bottom line thats what made it inevitable. clowns man its common sense watch the play stop begging for pitty you bums.

  27. richm2256 says: Jan 1, 2011 11:29 AM

    bspn2 says:
    Jan 1, 2011 9:25 AM
    More preferential treatment by Roger GODell of former Cheatriot players.

    ————————————————-
    Funny how that hasn’t stopped him from going after CURRENT Patriots players.

    Moron.

  28. cax20 says: Jan 1, 2011 11:52 AM

    I’ve reviewed that play several times.

    Samuels sort of gets his body sideways and throws his shoulder at Rice. Rice was lowering his head, as if he was bracing for impact.

    The bodies clash and the heads get smacked together.

    It occurs to me that there wasn’t any intent to hit helmet to helmet (which is probably what this no-fine thing is about), but also that Samuels’ technique is bad. If this was a bigger receiver or a tight end, throwing a shoulder is a missed tackle. He needs to wrap up with his arms and do a proper form tackle.

    Also it seems if Samuels had led with his helmet (just sayin’), the way Rice ducked down would have stopped Rice from being hit in the helmet.

    it’s a weird game, and you people who are like steelers-this or patriots-that don’t do yourselves any service.

  29. bigtrav425 says: Jan 1, 2011 1:23 PM

    that was not a blatant helmet to helmet by anymeans and should not be fined at all…but im sure the No Fun League Nazi’s will change there minds…this game is starting to make me sick

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